his is no fish tale.
Manitoba sport fisher Kimm Blaquiere caught and reeled in an 11-foot, 2-inch white sturgeon all by himself just east of Mission on Sept. 29.
"This is the fish of a lifetime," said Blaquiere from his Manitoba home on Tuesday.
"But it would have been better the day before when I was in the sturgeon conservation tournament."
He's been coming to B.C. to fish for sturgeon for about six years, and caught some good-sized fish, but this was the biggest.
The fish measured 340 centimetres in length (fork length - nose to fork of the tail) and 145 cm in girth, making it the largest tag and released white sturgeon on the Fraser River for the 2012 season.
Although not a world record, this fish was estimated to weigh roughly 750 lbs.
"Fish in this size range are likely female and more than 100 years old," said senior fisheries biologist Karl English, chairman of the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society.
And it didn't go gently into the late afternoon sun.
After a great day of fishing with the B.C. Sportfishing Group and angling guide Mike Neufeld, Blaquiere and his buddies in three other boats decided to have one last drop near the Mission boat launch about 3:45 p.m.
"They wanted to fish the last bit of the day together. Five minutes later, he got a bite and it instantly jumped out of the river," said Neufeld. They were about 140 metres east of the Mission train bridge.
"Only about half its body came out of the water, and we saw the first five feet and knew it was quite significant.
"When it's on the line like that, it's pretty exciting."
Neufeld said Blaquiere was really good on the rod and fought the fish for about an hour, as it pulled the boat another 230 metres upriver.
Neufeld tried to keep the boat on top of the fish and keep it away from the shoreline.
It took another half hour to get the exhausted fish to the surface and over to the shore where it was measured and tagged before being released.
"It was definitely the biggest fish we've ever landed on my boat," said Neufeld.
Blaquiere, who runs a fishing guide service in Manitoba, was worn out himself.
"I was at the end of it for sure," he said, adding there were about 30 people in nearby boats watching the whole show.
Neufeld said the sturgeon was healthy and even had a bit of fight left as they released it.
"She just kicked and thrashed and took off. It was a really good healthy release."
Every Fraser River white sturgeon encountered by B.C. Sportfishing Group fishing guides is sampled as part of the FRSCS ongoing monitoring and assessment program.
"This sturgeon is one of the top five largest measured in our monitoring and assessment program, and we want to do everything we can to ensure their ability to reproduce," said English.
"Thanks to the data collected by our volunteers, we are able to monitor the status of the lower Fraser sturgeon population, track growth rates and take action towards the protection and recovery of this species."
And while Blaquiere does not have a fish for his wall, he's got a great story about the one that didn't get away.
And what did he use for bait? A ball of salmon eggs.
- The Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society uses the fork length and girth length from behind the pectoral fins measurements, to ensure consistency across all samples. It is also the measurement used by the International Game Fish Association when documenting their record catches. This amazing sturgeon represents the size of mature brood stock needed to create the next generation of the species said senior fisheries biologist Karl English. The society has obtained size data from more than 50,000 sturgeon tagged over the past 12 years.