Mille Lacs Lake in central Minnesota is known as a “Walleye Factory.” Well, on Monday Robert Hawkins’ catch of a 57-inch muskie (pictured above) may have changed that!
Hawkins, who owns Bob Mitchell’s Fly Shop in Lake Elmo, Minn., was fly fishing for muskies with two other anglers when the behemoth hit.
“You never go out expecting to see a fish when you’re muskie fishing. It’s a hope,” Hawkins told cbslocal.com.
“I’ve kind of gotten addicted to muskies, and I’ve been fishing for them for three years,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins was using a 12-weight fly rod, casting a custom-made foot-long fly into about 10 feet of water, according to the Star Tribune.
The fish may set a world record for the largest muskie caught while fly fishing. The fish was 26-and-a-half inches around, estimated to weigh more than 50 pounds, according to cbslocal.com.
“I was pulling my fly in, like the last 500 casts I’d done. I felt weight, set the hook. Then she turned 90 degrees to me. At that point, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is a giant fish.’
“It went quick,” he continued. “She put up a little bit of a fight, did some head shakes out of the water. All of our jaws dropped,” Hawkins told cbslocal.com.
The fishermen let the massive fish go after capturing its size in a photo.
It won’t be determined if the fish is a record for a few weeks.
“I’m told that the IGFA (International Game Fish Association) has world records for fly-caught fish that are released,’’ Hawkins told the Star Tribune. “But I have no idea. I don’t really care. It doesn’t matter to me.’’
The Minnesota state record for a muskie is a 54-pounder that was 56 inches long and had a girth of 27-3/4 inches caught on Lake Winnibigoshigh in 1957. To be a record fish in Minnesota, one of the requirements is for the fish to be weighed on a state certified scale.
Mille Lacs, the second largest in Minnesota, is about 100 miles north of the Twin Cities near Garrison.
A video of Hawkins catching the muskie is on the Facebook page of the fly shop.
(Top photo courtesy of Robert Hawkins)