The biggest catch of an angler’s life is a monstrous deal and Sterling Allen was living’ the dream Saturday evening with a danged-sure whopper.
The problem was he didn’t know exactly how big – - or exactly what he’d caught.
I got involved when Sterling called The Eagle looking for advice and to ask if we wanted a photo of a really big fish. The sports department called me while I was in El Dorado finishing-up the story on Addy York. (An amazing young woman, a true inspiration. You can click here for that story.)
A quick call to Sterling found a man on Cloud Nine. He’d been fishing on Fall River in Greenwood County with his buddy, John Nash, Saturday morning when something big slammed his hook baited with a nightcrawler. After a five minute fight a long, silvery fish with large scales was netted.
Over the phone he told me he thought he’d caught a buffalo of state or world-record proportions – 70 lbs. or bigger. I was on my way after filing Addy’s story.
I arrived at Sterling”s home near 21st and Greenwich to find his driveway full of friends and family, staring at a huge fish laying in the yard. All were guessing the fish’s weight.
To me, there was no guessing the fish was a grass carp. A cell phone pic sent to Jessica Mounts, a Wildlife and Parks fisheries biologist, confirmed it.
Someone in the crowd quickly went online and noted the state record was 60 pounds. Sterling held-out hope it might break that mark. I wasn’t so sure.
Someone produced bathroom scales and we did the weigh-the-man, weigh-the- man-holding-the-fish method. We came up with 38.5 lbs. A buddy brought over a set of digital fishing scales. They said 39 lbs.
Sterling and his buddies were shocked. My guess of 45 lbs. was way-off, too.
So a new-found friend didn’t have a state record but he had a bunch of buddies and family standing around, talking fishing, all of us envious because we’d never caught a fish so big in Kansas.
No disappointment, only smiles and laughter.
Great fish Sterling. Thanks for letting me in on your fun.