British Columbia fisherman Chad Helmer has been fishing for sturgeon nearly his entire life, but he had never seen anything quite like the fish he caught last Saturday while fishing on the Fraser River. Few people have ever seen an albino sturgeon, and with its pearly white skin and faint yellow lines, the 11-foot, 2-inch fish that Helmer caught certainly seemed to be a very large albino.

“We’ve never, ever seen one like that before,” Helmer told The Province.

White sturgeon are already a pale gray, but judging from the pictures, Helmer’s catch is an uniform white that may point to it being a true albino. Experts however, say that more information is needed before they can confirm that.

“No doubt, that is an unusual fish and big for its kind. I don’t know for sure if it is albino, but agree it is very different in colouring and pale,” said Owen Brid, executive director of the Sport Fishing Institute of British Columbia.

You can see a picture of Helmer (on the left) with the fish below:

 

It is extremely rare for an albino sturgeon to grow that large—almost unheard of. When Helmer and his fishing party realized what he had on the line, they knew they had to be very careful in releasing it. No angler wanted to be responsible for injuring a fish that could possibly be one-of-a-kind.

“That fish has been around longer than any of us will live,” Helmer later wrote on social media.

Following a two hour fight with the beast, Helmer successfully brought the sturgeon close to shore and was able to capture it for an impromptu photo op. Pictures later posted online soon drew attention to the massive albino fish, and many have already started speculating over its potential world record status. However, as no major record-keeping organization holds a category for albino sturgeon, no one really knows just how unique Helmer’s catch is.

This June, a 10-year-old angler visiting from New Jersey caught a similarly-sized sturgeon that weighed 600 pounds and measured 10.1 feet long. Helmer, who runs Chad’s Fishing Charters, did not offer an estimate on the weight of the fish but it is likely that it is around the same.

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