Fishing enthusiasts in Lillooet, British Columbia, have long wanted to catch a much-talked-of gigantic fish with a distinctive bulbous pink nose for more than 40 years. Hence, when a 19-year-old fishing guide finally hauled in the 10-foot-long fabled fish, he was hailed a local hero.
Traversing on the Fraser river with clients on Aug. 23, 2016, Canadian Monster Adventures guide Nick McCabe had an amazing stroke of luck when he spotted a 10-foot-long, 650-pound (approx. 295 kg) white sturgeon in the river.
“The fish jumped right out of the river and I said, ‘Well, that looks like a 10-footer, so strap on, we’re going to be into at least a two-hour fight,’” McCabe told CBC News.
After two hours and 15 minutes, McCabe, nicknamed the “Sturgeon Whisperer,” finally reeled in the whopper, which turned out to be the legendary sturgeon dubbed “Pig Nose.”
Pig Nose, estimated to be 80 years old, got its bulbous pink snout in an accident approximately 40 years ago. No one knows how the injury occurred though.
Once Nick got the “living legend” up close to the boat, the clients were floored, said Jeff Grimolfson, who co-owns River Monster Adventures, according to The Star.
“We’re walking on clouds,” Grimolfson told Global News. “The living legend has been captured and lives on.”
“This fish has been the talk of fishing and sporting goods shops for years,” Grimolfson explained. “As the legend lives on, you’d be in a sporting goods shop and you’d hear, ‘my buddy was sure he had Pig Nose on the line.’”
McCabe and his clients took a group picture with Pig Nose before returning it to the water.
The young fishing guide’s incredible feat of catching the fabled fish after decades has become the talk of the town in Lillooet—even though it had been tagged and microchipped previously, no fisherman had ever managed to haul it in.
It wasn’t long before the “Sturgeon Whisperer” caught the most famous resident of Fraser River for the second time. On Sept. 28 this year, the fishing tour guide again reeled in Pig Nose, now weighing 700 pounds (approx. 318 kg).
This time round, McCabe, alongside his Texan clients, spent around an hour to accomplish the extraordinary feat. When they pulled the massive fish up onto the shore, McCabe thought, “This guy looks pretty familiar.”
“I had a gut feeling it was him,” McCabe said. “He’s still putting weight on. So that’s cool to see.”
According to Sarah Schreier, executive director of the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society, over 47,000 white sturgeon can be found in the Fraser River, The Star reported.
White sturgeon are considered a protected and threatened species. Thus, a catch-and-release policy has been stipulated for the fishing of sturgeons in British Columbia.
“They really are a dinosaur in the river,” Schreier said.
As stated by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, sturgeons have existed even before dinosaurs first roamed the earth some 230 million years ago, and can live to be over 100 years old.