BURNSVILLE, W.Va. — Chase Gibson of Mount Clare, West Virginia is no stranger to big musky. He actually spends most of his spare time chasing them.
“Yeah, I’ve dedicated a lot of time to them. I’m obsessed with them,” he said in an interview for West Virginia Outdoors.
However, a couple of weeks back he landed one which even he was shocked to see.
“I never thought I’d catch one like that in West Virginia. I knew there were some here, but I didn’t think it would happen,” he explained.
The massive musky he caught from Burnsville Lake stretched the tape measure to 54 1/16th inches, which beat the old state record for length. At 39.64 pounds, it remained shy of the weight record.
Listen to “Chase Gibson talks about his record musky on W.Va. Outdoors” on Spreaker.‘ Gibson, who guides for musky fishing on Stonewall Jackson Lake, figured if he was ever going to catch a record breaker it would have come from Stonewall. Catching the record at Burnsville was another big surprise.
“I knew Burnsville had them, but Stonewall probably has more numbers of fish closer to that range. It surprised me that me, myself, got it from Burnsville because I never fish down there. I fish Stonewall all the time and we just wanted a change of scenery and went down to Burnsville,” he said.
He was there with his buddy Frank Porupski and it didn’t take long for the old girl to show herself.
“It was actually the first place we went to that morning. We didn’t fish for 15 minutes and she hit. It was really thick timber and as soon as I hooked her she came to the surface and then dived under the boat. I had to put my rod around a tree and thankfully my buddy Frank was with me and was able to get the net and scoop her up.,” he explained.
Gibson admitted he was worried about the timber and horsed her a little more than he would have liked, but feared she would break off if he didn’t get her into open water. When he finally landed her, he realized he was very close to having an entirely different story to share.
“I went to unhook her, she had one hook of the back treble hook in the back of her mouth. I barely put any pressure on it and it popped right out. I looked and the hook was almost straightened all the way out. We got pretty lucky,” he said.
After snapping a few pictures the massive fish, which was about half spawned out, was put back into the net to hold while they waited on the DNR to come to the lake to get a certified measurement. Gibson said it took a couple of hours and biologists actually came onto the lake to meet him. When the measurements were complete, the fish was released back into the water unharmed. Gibson was pleased she was in better shape after the ordeal than he expected.
“I let her sit in the net and relax. Big fish like that get stressed really easy. She swam off really good. I was expecting it would take a lot longer because she was such a big fish, but she actually just swam right off,” he said.