A 19-year-old angler from Atlanta, Ga, fishing with his father for the first time, is the fourth person in less than two years to catch a giant Fraser River sturgeon.
On Thursday, Paul Jarvis, and his dad, Don, were on the first day of a three-day father-son fishing trip when Paul hooked into one of the largest white sturgeon ever caught on the Fraser River.
The giant fish measured more than three-and-a half metres long and one-and-a-half metres in girth. Since it was never removed from the water, its weight was calculated, based on a mathematical formula, at 400 kilograms.
"In the first few minutes I had it on the line I couldn't believe the weight and power of the fish," said the university sophomore.
"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 me 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 pair fought the sturgeon for more than an hour before the fish was brought to shore by Dean Werk of Great River Fishing Adventures, the boat's lead guide.
Werk says the crew scanned the fish and found it had not been previously tagged. A PIT conservation tag was applied and the anglers got behind it to have their pictures taken.
PIT tags are handed to anglers by the Sturgeon Conservation Centre to assist in white sturgeon population estimates.
Four giants in two years
It's the fourth giant sturgeon captured on the Fraser River in the last two years.
Last September, Niels Rasmussen, on a trip with friends from Denmark, landed himself a three-metre long sturgeon.
In September, 2012, Kamloops resident Norman Daley landed a giant sturgeon weighing nearly 500 kilograms and in July, a British tourist hooked one of a similar size and reeled it in after a 90-minute struggle.
Sturgeon of this size are very old, said Marvin Rosenau, an instructor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s School of Environment.
"These aren't fish that were just born, last week, last year, last decade, last half century," said Rosenau. "These were born around the time of the start of Canada."
Rosenau said it's unusual to see this many record-worthy sturgeons caught in such a short period of time.