Eric Lester, 32, of Campbell Hall took the largest inland striped bass in New York history earlier this month. According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Lester caught the 60-pound female in the Hudson River on May 14, ousting the previous record of 55 pounds and six ounces. The fish was later measured to be 53.4 inches long and 33 inches in girth.
“This is a remarkable new record catch,” said Commissioner Martens. “I congratulate Mr. Lester on his success and determination in catching the largest recorded inland Striped Bass in New York and encourage others to take advantage of the many outstanding fishing opportunities New York has to offer.”
The fish almost got away from him. Lester told the New York Daily News that he was fishing by himself in near the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge with bloodworm as a lure. When the massive bass hit, the angler found himself subject to a series of unfortunate events, including having the reel fall off his rod. Luckily, the line snagged around his boat’s prop and he was able to bring in the fish with a small net.
“Honestly, I’m still waiting to wake up,” Lester said. “It still feels like I’m dreaming. It’s just crazy.”
State biologists determined that the fish was at least 20 years old. If it was not for a 69-pound muskellunge caught in 1957, Lester would have claimed New York’s largest freshwater fish caught on rod and reel. The closest other contender is a 50-pound, six-ounce common carp landed in 1995.
Lester says he intends to mount his record fish. He also claims the bass outweighed his previous best by at least 54 pounds.
Image courtesy New York Department of Environmental Conservation