PHOTO: Illinois Teen Hauls in Gargantuan Pike That Breaks Minnesota Record

by Matthew Memrick

A fifteen-year-old Illinois boy broke a Minnesota northern pike record recently.

Some teenagers would say it was no big deal. Not Geneva, Ill. resident Brecken Kobylecky.

“The whole experience went by in a flash, but it was an experience of a lifetime I’ll never forget,” Kobylecky told the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Kobylecky caught his 46 1/4 “waterwolf” pike at Basswood Lake on June 19.

The previous record was a 45 1/4 inch pike from the Rainy River (on the U.S.-Canadian border) in 2018.

In 2018, Fox News reported the largest pike ever caught in the U.S. was reportedly 58 inches long. The details of that fish are not fully determined.

However, a Czech man caught a 58-pound, 14-ounce northern pike in 2019. Lukas Matejka’s catch likely broke the International Game Fish Association record.

Northern Pike Catch Almost Didn’t Happen

According to Bring Me The News, the teenager was trolling the lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. An Ely, Minn.-based fishing guide witnessed Kobylecky’s catch. 

Kobylecky said he was about done fishing for the day when he got a bite on his line.

The teen told the DNR it was “barely hooked,” and his group “could hardly land it” because of its size and weight.

When they pulled it in, the group took a few photos of it with the teenager and then tossed it right back. 

Boy’s Record Not Alone

A Wisconsin angler also tied the Minnesota catch-and-release record for muskie this year.

Todd Kirby caught a 57 1/4-inch muskie on Lake Vermilion on July 23. The Hudson, Wisc.-resident released his fish after getting it certified. Kirby’s mark matched one muskie caught on the same lake in 2019.

In a Bring Me The News story, Kirby said he caught a 48-inch fish earlier in the night. 

The Wisconsin resident said he and his fishing partners estimated it at 50 inches in catching his record-tying muskie. Soon after, they learned it was much more significant. 

According to officials, Kirby had fished at the lake a handful of times and was familiar with typical muskie hotspots.

After a full day of fishing around 10:30 p.m., CBS Minnesota reported that the man thought he heard a large “thud” hit his fishing line when his bait was close to the boat.

“I compared it to reeling in a large moving ‘log,’ and after a few dark splashes, she was in the net,” Kirby told wildlife officials. “Everything just happened so fast!” 

According to a 2019 USA Today article, a Wisconsin man broke the current all-tackle world record for muskie in 1949. Cal Johnson caught a 67-pound, 8-ounce fish near Hayward, Wis. It measured 60 1/4 inches.

The article also mentioned Minnesota’s state record, which came in at 56 7/8 inches.