The Pennsylvania angler who recently broke the state record for lake trout called the feat a “You’ve got to be kidding me” moment.
Keith Miller’s 31-pound, 13-ounce lake trout caught out of Lake Erie was more than two pounds heavier than the previous record (29-4, Lake Erie, 2012), according to a news release from Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
“It was almost like one of those ‘You’ve got to be kidding me’ moments,” the Cranberry Township resident said. “We’re just out there fishing for fun and all of the sudden you might have a state record on your hands.”
In fact, Miller, 73, was on a scouting trip with friends scouting for the summer season with God’s Grace Sport Fishing charters when the record hit.
The group was fishing in an area known as “The Mountain,” more than 2 miles off shore, and the big fish bit an Orange Crush UV Copper-colored Michigan Stinger spoon on 30-pound braided line around 4:30 p.m. They were trolling over 55 feet of water. The crew had already boated several fish in the 14-pound range.
“I could tell it was a lot bigger than the ones we’d been catching,” Miller said. “At first, it was like dead weight, but then the fish started taking quite a bit of line and put up a really great fight.”
When the crew realized the fish might be in record territory, they headed back to shore to weigh it on a certified scale at Poor Richard’s Bait and Tackle in Fairview. PFBC Waterways Conservation Officer Matthew Visosky supervised the weighing.
Miller said the “team effort” of charter Capt, Lane Brown and first mate Tom Thompson led to the record catch.
Miller said the fish will be replicated for display at Poor Richard’s.
“I live alone,” he said. “If I put it at my house, nobody would ever see it and all it would do is collect dust. I also think records are made to be broken and this might not last very long. I suspect there are other lake trout in Lake Erie that would enjoy mine for a snack.”
A list of current Pennsylvania State Record Fish, official rules and application can be found at www.fishandboat.com.