A Minnesota fisherman lost out on a state record for this awful reason

Jun 18, 2024

The dream for many fishermen is to reel in a trophy fish during a day on the lake.

One man came tantalizingly close to making this dream come true.

But a Minnesota fisherman lost out on a state record for this awful reason.

Massive pike caught in the Boundary Waters 

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeast Minnesota bordering Ontario, Canada is one of the country’s underrated natural treasures. 

It’s home to one million acres of lakes, streams, and forests in one of the most remote areas in America.

39-year-old Jacob Skorloken traveled with his dad and some buddies to the Boundary Waters for an annual canoe trip.

“It was the third day of our 10-day trip, and we’d stopped at a favorite deep hole in Crooked Lake, part of the Basswood Lake system,” Skorloken told Outdoor Life. “I was alone in one of our three canoes when I dropped a 3/8-ounce blue-and-black jig over the side.”

He said that after he lifted his rod, he felt something massive on the lure. 

“My dad and brother-in-law were in another nearby canoe, and I told ‘em right away it was a big one,” Skorloken said. “But I thought it was just a good walleye.”

The fish fought for a few minutes before it made a run for it.

Skorloken’s rod was buckling from the fish running off nearly 50 yards.

“It’s a miracle my 6-pound line didn’t cut during the 20 minutes I fought that pike,” Skorloken recalled. “I just got lucky. The jig hook was barbed perfectly in its mouth. The fine line must have fit between its large sharp teeth, so it didn’t cut the mono.”

The massive fish put up a fight that forced him to follow it in his canoe because he couldn’t control it with his tackle.

Two family members pulled up beside him their canoes to keep him stable.

A record northern pike – or so he thought 

Skorloken and his family were ready to bring the massive fish in. 

“I eventually worked the fish to the surface, but I couldn’t pull it in,” Skorloken stated. “We finally got it in our net, and started to lift it, but the net handle started to bend. That’s when we paddled to shore, and [my brother-in-law] grabbed the net hoop to keep it from breaking.”

They reached shore to discover that he had a massive northern pike.

Skorloken said it was 47.5 inches long with an 18-inch girth.

That would have made his northern pike the Minnesota catch-and-release record by three-fourths of an inch.

But in their excitement of the massive pike, they forget to take photos of their measurements.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wouldn’t certify it without the photographed measurements.

“We were so excited about the fish, so pleased to see such a remarkably huge pike, that we just didn’t think about taking photos of its measurements,” Skorloken said.

But he still found a way to create a memory for himself.

“It would have been great to have the record, but I already have a replica mount of the pike being made by a taxidermist, so I’ll be able to re-live that memory every time I see it on my wall,” Skorloken explained.

He said that he plans to return to the Boundary Waters for years to come so that trophy fish is still out there for him.

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