Nine-year-old New Jersey boy Kegan Rothman was on a fishing trip with his dad on the Fraser River Monday, when he reeled in a monster white sturgeon that has been described as a “10-ft dinosaur.”
According to CBC, Kegan and his father Dan Rothman, were on a week-long chartered fishing trip with Ben Trainer, a guide with Great River Fishing Adventures, when Kegan hooked the 10-foot (3 meter) giant weighing about 600 pounds (272 kilograms) near Chilliwack on June 29, at about 1:30 p.m.
The exhausting battle to reel in the fish lasted nearly two hours.
As Kegan and his father struggled with the fish, it got its body entangled around a small tree stump in the water, making the task even more difficult.
Kegan told the Calgary Sun that he feared the fish would pull him into the water.
When asked what was going through his mind as he struggled to secure the catch, he told the Globe and Mail, “Am I going to lose it? When am I going to get it in? I’m so tired.”
Kegan’s father Dan said the challenging situation only stiffened their resolve to land the fish.
“We had already had the opportunity to see the fish. I was actually taking pictures of my son working the rod on the stern and the fish just came straight up, almost like a projectile from the water with its belly pronounced toward us.
“To see the fish several times and then for it to get hung up and wrapped… [we] were just saying to each other, ‘No one’s going to believe this. So what do we do?'”
The father and son team finally managed to pull the fish away from the tree stump and after a brief struggle Kegan reeled it in and brought it to shore for measurement.
The fork length of the fish (length to the fork in the fish’s tail) was 9 feet and 5 inches, but the total length was 10 feet and one inch (3 meters), according to the Chilliwack Progress.
The girth measured below the pectoral fins was 50 inches (1.27 meters). The weight was estimated at about 600 pounds (272 kilograms).
After measurement, Kegan and his father snapped photos as the fish was tagged and released back into water. The video below shows Kegan releasing the fish back into the river.
Dan said he had never seen anything like that in the 30 years of his fishing experience.
“These fish are hooked, but they’re just never landed this size. It’s very, very rare that they actually get the fish in. We’re thankful and I’m thankful that Kegan was diligent and stuck with it.”
He said that earlier in the year, he had promised his son that he would take him on a fishing trip if he achieved straight As in school.
“I asked him what he was interested in and he said he had been studying in science about the link between alligators and sturgeon to prehistoric ancestry, and I said, ‘Would you like to catch a big fish? A sturgeon?'”
The fish is one of the largest sturgeons ever caught on the Fraser River. The Great River Fishing Adventures described it as a “10-foot dinosaur,” and Kegan’s achievement as “nearly impossible feat.”
Trainer wrote, “I’ve been a professional fishing guide on the Fraser River for 11 years and have fished these rivers my whole life. This is one of the largest fish I have helped a client catch. We have helped to collectively tag more than 61,000 white sturgeon since 1995, and scanned an excess of 122,000 tagged sturgeon, which have been caught and released. With the size of this fish.”
Trainer estimated the age of the fish at about 75 years.
Photos posted online show the fourth-grade boy posing with the sturgeon before he released it back into water.
Sturgeons must be released after being caught because they are designated endangered species in B.C. and are protected under the federal Species At Risk Act, according to CBC.
Sturgeons are primitive fish with a fossil record dating back 200 million years. White sturgeons are known to measure more than 20 feet.
[Images: Great River Fishing Adventures]