When 19-year-old Paul Jarvis first caught sight of the fish on his line, he thought it could be a shark.
That’s how big the sturgeon was that he caught Thursday in the Fraser River near this southwest B.C. community.
Total length of the sturgeon was 11 feet ten inches (361cm) long (that’s a fork length of 10 feet seven inches (326cm) – nose to V in tail) and 56 inches (145cm) in girth, tape measured below the pectoral fins. Although impossible to weigh fish in the river, based on a mathematic formula used in these cases, the sturgeon caught would weigh over 880 pounds.
“In the first few minutes I had it on the line I couldn’t believe the weight and power of the fish. I am a big guy and I could barely hold on to the rod let alone begin to reel the fish,” explained 6’3, 250lb university sophomore Paul Jarvis. “Managing that fish became a true father and son challenge. As I battled the fish, my dad handed me water to keep 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.”
After more than an hour-long battle, the sturgeon was brought to shore by the boat’s lead guide Dean Werk of Great River Fishing Adventures. The crew scanned the fish to find it had not been previously tagged. It was dubbed a “virgin sturgeon,” an untagged white sturgeon.
Together with Ron and Paul Jarvis, the crew got in the water and measured the fish and applied a PITT tag to the left side below the head of the fish for conservation efforts.
With the sturgeon in the water, the anglers got behind it to pose for photos and videos to capture their once-in-a-lifetime catch.
How do two Atlanta guys find their way to fish in B.C. waters? Ron Jarvis explains: “When I called an American guide company on the Columbia River in Washington, I asked if you could go to one place for a trip of a lifetime. They suggested that the biggest fish were in Canada on the Fraser River. They suggested I contact Great River Fishing Adventures. I knew the trips was going to be great but never thought we’d hook a 900 pound sturgeon!”
This is the fourth giant sturgeon caught in less than two years. Two years ago, on July 2012, Great River Fishing Adventures made international news headlines when British tourists Michael and Margaret Snell caught a 12ft 4″ sturgeon on the Fraser River. In September of 2012, Norm Daley of Kamloops caught an 11ft 8″ sturgeon, when he had a group of 30 anglers from his Kamloops accounting firm out for a teambuilding event. Just last year, in September 2013, Neils Rasmussen from Demark, on a trip with his friends, landed himself an 11ft 2″.
Dean Werk, the owner of Great River Fishing Adventures, was on the water for all four of these record catches. “It is really exciting to see a fourth monster fish like this within such a short time period. It is proof that our conservation efforts are successful and that this is a sustainable fishery as we have seen increase in population for past 2 years.”
“I was looking to make the first fishing trip with my son memorable,” says Ron Jarvis. “This fishing trip has been a great bonding experience. It’s a great Father’s Day weekend and a unique adventure we’ll never forget.”