A North Carolina angler got a welcomed surprise last month when he hooked into a gigantic musky while fishing on Fontana Lake near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), the muskelunge that Capt. Kyle Fronrath of Fontana Guides netted in late September measured 52 inches and weighed in at a whopping 32 pounds. That’s about nine pounds shy of the overall state record.

“It was a very long fish — 52 inches — but the Wildlife Resource Commission keeps records by mass, and it was only 32 pounds, whereas the current record is 41.5 pounds,” Jodie Owen, a spokeswoman for the NCWRC told the Asheville Citizen Times. “So, it did not break the existing record.”

The fish was caught near the Little Tennessee prong of Fontana Lake and was bested after a 6 minute fight that, according to Fronrath, seemed much longer.

“The amount of water it moved when thrashing and head shaking during the fight was incredible to see,” Fronrath said in his Citizen Times interview. “It was a very stubborn fight. It all happened so fast, but at the same time it’s like it was in slow motion.”

Also of note is the fact that the musky Fronrath caught was of the wild variety, not the more common state-stocked version.

 

Fronrath, who owns and operates Fontana Guides, has been pursuing wild musky on Fontana for ten years, and his recent catch marks only the second encounter he’s had during that time.

Looking to hook into a muskelunge of your own? Click here for tips on fly fishing for musky.

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