On June 17, Kaiden Schrieber, 15, of the Chicago area, caught a 50-inch muskellunge, or muskie, which is nicknamed “the fish of 10,000 casts” for how difficult it is to reel one in.
Kaiden, who has been fishing for most of his life, told Fox News Digital he’s had his eye on catching a muskie for several years, particularly for the challenge.
“They’re big, predatory fish,” Kaiden, an upcoming junior in high school, said. “I really like the predatory fish.”
Over the last year, Kaiden has focused solely on catching a muskie and nothing else, spending hours researching the fish and talking to local fishermen for advice.
“This was a pursuit, if you will, that he’s been on,” Kaiden’s dad, Phil Schrieber, told Fox News Digital.
Kaiden and his dad went fishing on the Flambeau Chain of Lakes in Wisconsin on June 17.
Based on Kaiden’s research, the conditions weren’t ideal for catching muskie – it was a sunny, windy day – but he and his dad decided to try anyway, sticking to a deeper, rocky area of one of the lakes.
As Kaiden was reeling in his line to try for deeper waters, he saw a fish come up and grab his lure.
“It was really cool, because I got to watch the fish just appear and eat the lure whole,” Kaiden said.
“I had to fight for a good minute or two,” he explained.
Eventually, Kaiden and his dad netted the muskie – which was actually too big for the net – and got it onto the boat. That’s when they realized it was about 50 inches long.
“The thing that surprised me the most was how big it was,” Kaiden said. “When I tried to lift it up, I’m like, ‘Man, this is bigger than I thought.’”
“It was crazy, the sheer size of it,” he added.
Kaiden said they had to spend a few minutes removing the hook from the fish and at that point, they noticed the fish was pregnant.
“You could see eggs coming out of her,” Kaiden said. “So we knew we had to release her fast.”
After Kaiden got a photo with the fish, he let it back into the water.
“She was sitting there for about five minutes,” he said. “She had to get her strength back from all the stress. She finally swam off into the deep water, which was such a cool thing to watch.”
“It was a whole experience,” Kaiden added.
Kaiden also noted that the catch was a bit emotional.
“That’s something you’ve been trying to do for over a year, and it finally happens,” Kaiden said.
“I want to keep doing it [fishing],” he added. “It just draws you back in, the thrill of it.”
For Phil Schrieber, the catch was a rewarding moment filled with hugs and high-fives.
“Once we got through the hecticness of bringing the fish in and releasing it and watching it successfully swim away, we just turned to each other and I saw the smile on his face,” Schrieber said.
“I was so proud of his accomplishment, not just the catching of the fish, but it’s the journey leading up to that, the persistence, all the time that he spent over the years trying to catch the fish, doing all the investigative work,” he added.
Schrieber explained that fishermen can go weeks without catching anything, but his son never gave up.
“His [Kaiden’s] persistence and grit and determination to catch the fish is what made me so proud of him,” Schrieber said. “And then seeing the smile on his face was just absolutely priceless.”
Kaiden now plans on doing more muskie fishing.
His advice to other fishermen? “Just keep your head up,” he said.
“Keep a good mindset,” he added. “It’s a real mental game.”