A 16-year-old Sarnia student has a whopping tale to tell his grandkids after successfully landing one of the largest carp ever caught on rod and reel in Canada.
Patrick Surdyka accomplished the feat at Bridgeview Marina in Point Edward with pal Holden Mathany on June 24, when, against all odds, they pulled in a monster weighing 36.8 lbs. (16.69 kilograms).
“We were talking about leaving. It was hot that day and I was really sunburned. You can see it in the picture; my knees were all red,” said Surdyka, who is entering Grade 11 at St. Patrick’s High School.
Just as they were packing up Surdyka’s fishing bobber disappeared and the drag on his reel screamed.
“The fish went way, way out in the marina. It was just gone.”
Surdyka had no landing net and was fishing from a high steel seawall. His rod was equipped with 10-lb. test line and a six-pound leader, meaning it could snap easily.
He was so certain of losing the fish that he used a cell phone with one hand to video the tussle for posterity.
Four times the massive carp was maneuvered into shore and four times it streaked off again.
“We couldn’t believe it. I looked at my friend and he looked at me, and we were like, ‘Oh my god.’”
Finally, after 25 minutes and on the fifth attempt, Mathany, who had climbed down onto a beam just above the water, was able to grab the carp and heave it up onto to the grass.
The fish had taken a small hook baited with three kernels of corn.
The fishing buddies took a few photos, weighed the beast on a scale, and then let it go.
“We just thought it would be better to put her back in the water. It wasn’t really for eating, and it was out of respect for the fish,” Surdyka said.
“I fish a lot and I never expected to see a carp like that in Sarnia. I’ve never seen a fish that big before.”
According to the record books, common carp rarely exceed 30 lbs. in Canada.
Officially, the largest ever landed by an angler in Ontario — and apparently the nation — was a 39.88-pounder caught in Lake Simcoe in 2007, according to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.
That long-standing record may have been broken on May 18th of this year, however, when a 42.2-lb. carp was caught in Buckhorn Lake, according to RecordFishCanada. The pending record is not yet official.
“It was a big fish and we didn’t have a net,” said Surdyka. “I guess we got lucky.”