It is a North American tradition to celebrate Father’s Day with a fishing trip, but 19-year-old Paul Jarvis did not expect his holiday to be as eventful as it turned out to be. Paul and his father Ron, both natives of Georgia, flew to British Columbia’s famed Fraser River for a chance at white sturgeon. Last Thursday the pair pulled in an estimated 900-pound specimen, marking it the fourth monster sturgeon caught in the river in the past two years.
“In the first few minutes I had it on the line I couldn’t believe the weight and power of the fish,” Paul, a sophomore in college, said in a press release. “I am a big guy and I could barely hold on to the rod let alone begin to reel the fish. Managing that fish became a true father and son challenge. As I battled the fish my dad handed me water to keep hydrated and he even held on to my fighting belt and harness. When I saw that head come out of the water, it was massive.”
The fight last over an hour before Jarvis was able to land the gigantic fish. Along with their guide, Dean Werk of Great River Fishing Adventures, the anglers jumped into the water to measure the pearly-white sturgeon. It came in at 11 feet, 10 inches in length and 56 inches in girth. Werk noticed that the fish was also a “virgin sturgeon,” or a sturgeon that had not been previously tagged.
“It is really exciting to see a fourth monster fish like this within such a short time period,” Werk said. “It is proof that our conservation efforts are successful and that this is a sustainable fishery as we have seen increase in population for past 2 years.”
Werk was previously present in 2012 when a British couple from Salisbury landed a massive 12-foot, four-inch white sturgeon also in the Fraser River. That fish is suspected to be the largest of its kind ever caught and released by an angler, and at 1,100 pounds, one of the largest freshwater fish ever caught in North American history.
While the fish caught by Paul Jarvis and his father may not break any records, it was still an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the anglers. White sturgeon are one of the largest freshwater species in the world and can live well beyond a century. A PITT tag was attached to the sturgeon before it was released safely.
“I was looking to make the first fishing trip with my son memorable,” said Ron Jarvis. “This fishing trip has been a great bonding experience. It’s a great Father’s Day weekend and a unique adventure we’ll never forget.”
Video of the catch can be seen below:
Images courtesy Great River Fishing Adventures