Last time Barry Larson was up on Clearwater West Lake in Ontario, he had a "monster" that got away.
The 54-year-old from Duluth was with his dad and had the fish on the line, "but I never did land him."
"I kept telling [my father], I've got to go back and get him," Larson told BringMeTheNews.
Fast forward about half a decade and Larson found himself on the same lake, and in the same situation – but this time, ended up with a nearly 50-pound lake trout that'll be mounted in his home.
Catching the fish
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Larson was on Clearwater West Lake the afternoon of Jan. 21, alone in his fish house but part of a group of six out fishing.
And that's when he felt something big on his line. Then he saw it.
"The ice was kind of cleaned off inside my fish house, and you could see through it when that thing came up ... it looked like a shark circling," he told BringMeTheNews.
He called his friend via walkie talkie, saying, "I need help, I got a big one." But his cohort was about 5 minutes away, leaving Larson to hold on by himself.
"Oh please don't get off, don't lose the hook," Larson said of what was running through his mind for those five minutes. "At the time it's just adrenaline and so exciting hanging on to a pole with something that big down there."
They had to use a gaff to hook the trout after they couldn't get it's head up to the hole, and the two managed to pull it out of the water by its tail. (The CBC has a more detailed blow-by-blow from Larson if you want the nitty gritty.)
World record caught on the same lake
They used a digital scale to weigh it right away: It came in at 39.8 pounds.
The next day, a store's meat scale and it registered at over 37 pounds. Three days later, an official scale at a bait shop said about 38 pounds.
It also measured 45.5 inches long, with a girth of 28 inches around the belly.
"I actually thought it looked bigger than that myself," Larson said. "Trying to hold it up for pictures, I thought it weighed 100 pounds."
A world record? Not quite, but close.
According to the Timberjay, the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame says the record for a lake trout caught through the ice and kept is 40 pounds (it was also 43 inches long).
Funny enough, it was also caught on Clearwater West Lake – the same spot Larson snagged his big catch. And it was done by a Minnesota man, Earl Palmquist of International Falls.
Returning to the lake
As for Larson's trout, he got all the meat from a taxidermist, and a friend is smoking it for him. And when the taxidermist is done, it'll be mounted and set right above their TV.
"Got all the kids pictures there, take them down and put the fish," he said.
And Larson knows a good spot when he sees it. So he and a group are heading back to Clearwater West Lake next week.
"There's some nice fish in there," he said.