PHOTO: West Virginia Angler’s Monster Muskie Beats State Record by More Than 10 Pounds

by Michael Freeman
(Photo By CHARLES BJORGEN/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

While fishing, there’s really no better feeling than reeling in a new personal best. A West Virginia angler recently felt that sensation with muskie but to a much larger degree. Not only did he beat his own personal best, but his monster fish smashed the state’s record by more than 10 pounds.

Field and Stream reports West Virginia angler Luke King landed a whopping 55-plus-inch muskie on Saturday, March 19. Fishing it out below the dam at Burnsville Lake, it beat the previous state-record fish by 11 pounds. Even more amazing is this is the third time someone broke the state record within the last five years.

King’s fish weighed 51 pounds, a little more than 11 pounds heavier than the previous record held by Chase Gibson of 39.6 pounds. The record before Gibson belonged to Joe Wilfong, whose fish weighed 34.6 pounds, which almost seems small in comparison to the other two. Talking to Newsweek about the catch, King said his “dream came true” the morning he caught it.

“I’ve been muskie fishing for around 18 years and I normally get out one to two days a week,” King stated. “She fought very hard but I had the gear to tame her and the fight only lasted a couple of minutes. I have caught many muskies in the 50-53″ range but never one as big as this.”

So, what did he do with the trophy fish? “I’m very passionate about releasing muskie, they take years to achieve their size—15-20 [years] most generally—and they’re a very fragile fish. They’re the top predator when in the water but out of the water without proper care and limiting her time out of the water she wouldn’t have made it.”

Ice Fisherman Snags 25-Pound Tiger Muskie On First Trip to a New Lake

Luke King isn’t alone making headlines regarding remarkable muskie catches lately. An ice fisherman caught a 25-pound tiger muskie, and on their first trip to a new lake of all times.

Pennsylvania angler Daniel Salter told the Pittsburg Post-Gazette the catch occurred while ice fishing on Keystone Lake a few weeks ago for the first time. Using a tip-up rigged with a small live shiner on a single hook, he got something much larger than he initially expected. “I could tell it was a big fish,” he told the outlet. “The line was really going out. I waited until it stopped, and I set the hook.”

The struggle between the two lasted roughly 20 minutes, but Salter emerged victoriously. Salter and his friend somehow managed to get the muskie through the hole in the ice and began to measure it. The tiger muskie weighed 25 pounds and measured 45.5 inches long.

Though he could have kept it since it was over 40 inches long, he opted to take a few photos and release it. “We ice fish all over the place, all the lakes,” Slater said. “I never dreamed I’d catch something like that.”