Alberta woman lands 'monster' walleye
'We got him up to the boat and I just saw this giant walleye and I was so excited'
Lisa Roper is still reeling after catching a huge walleye on Lac La Biche Tuesday evening.
A photo she posted to an Alberta fishing Facebook page has garnered nearly 700 likes and more than 250 questions and comments.
Unlike many anglers, Roper is happy to tell people where she was fishing and what lure she was using.
"I said, 'I'm pretty sure I'm snagged on something' because it just kind of pulled so hard, like as if you snagged your hook on a log," Roper said.
Still she kept reeling in her line.
"And it's coming in and I said, 'There's nothing, there's nothing here, it's just a big old log I'm bringing in' and then we got him up to the boat and I just saw this giant walleye and I was so excited."
That joy quickly turned to panic.
"I realized the hook wasn't really embedded in him very well so I was saying to Jessica, 'Hurry up, get the net so we can get him in the net, he's huge!' " said Roper.
"I didn't realize it was going to be a personal best, but a decent fish because my shoulder was starting to hurt, my forearm was starting to hurt."
She soon realized what she had.
"He was a monster," Roper said. "We have a video up and I say 'Oh my goodness' a lot. I actually could not believe to see that big of a fish, that big of a walleye in our net. I was just thrilled."
When Roper went to measure the fish, she realized its weight would forever be a mystery.
"He was 28.5 inches and unfortunately I didn't have the scale on the boat with me so I was a little disappointed," she said. "I would have loved to get a weight on him but I know I can tell you he was really heavy."
Roper estimates the fish was well over 10 pounds but she doesn't believe it would have beat the 15.8-pound record for the heaviest walleye caught in Alberta.
Still, Roper's smiling face was evidence that this was a big deal.
"It's exciting and I never ever expected that," she said.
That's a surprising statement for someone who can be considered a professional angler.
'I just want to inspire people'
Roper is a pro staff member for Bass Pro Shop and Len Thompson Lures and Spypoint Trail Cameras.
"Part of taking those roles on has been to encourage other people to get outdoors, first time to seasoned anglers or hunters. I just want to inspire people."
That's why she doesn't hesitate to offer tips and tricks to those who ask, as many are after seeing the photo.
"A lot of people are asking, 'Which lake were you on? Do you mind me asking?' " Roper said. "I know a lot of people don't want to share that information, but I'm more than happy to share it because I want to see other people catch and be out here and pay it forward and have a lot of fun."
"I was using the No. 13 Grey Ghost and it's in the dimple series," said Roper, who also has a love for fishing in her blood.
"This one's very special to me because my dad was a huge inspiration to me in my life and he loved to hunt and fish and I got to be such a huge part of his world.
"Unfortunately my dad passed two-and-a-half years ago so to catch that walleye the other night was incredibly special and even more special to put it back."
It's certainly a fish that would catch the eye if mounted, but Roper believes conservation is important.
"As beautiful as they are, they're the ones that keep the population up and keep reproducing," she said.
"I do a lot of fishing and I put back like 99 per cent of my fish. There's just something special about it to say thank you and let him back on his journey."