Rockford angler Tom Healy hooks 41-pound brown trout that shatters state record
by Aaron Ogg | The Grand Rapids PressThursday September 10, 2009, 1:50 AM
ROCKFORD — Tom Healy floated along the Manistee River in Manistee County on Wednesday morning hoping to hook a few salmon, but the longtime fisherman’s fate was much weightier.
The 66-year-old Rockford man wrangled with a 41-pound, 7-ounce, 43.75-inch-long brown trout for 15 minutes before hauling it into his boat. The fish breaks the species’ state record and awaits verification by world record keepers as the largest ever caught.
Officials with the state Department of Natural Resources’ fisheries division Wednesday checked out the monstrous grab and said it meets all guidelines as Michigan’s new champion.
“This is one of the most amazing fish I’ve seen in my life,” said Todd Kalish, fisheries supervisor for the Central Lake Michigan unit, “a real testament of the world class fishery Michigan provides.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing for someone like that.”
Healy, 15-year fishing buddy and East Grand Rapids resident Bob Woodhouse and guide Tim Roller of Cadillac-based Ultimate Outfitters caught some salmon before hooking the big one near the Bear Creek access point.
Healy said the fish tried to jump a couple times, but he was able to wrestle it in open water with his Rapala Shad Rap lure and Cabela’s rod and reel.
“The reality of it is, I was pretty doggone lucky,” Healy said.
“It’s just one of those things.”
The previous brown trout state record of 36 pounds, 13 ounces was set in 2007 by Casey Richey near Frankfort Harbor.
The current world record is held by Howard Collins, who caught a 40-pound, 4-ounce brown trout in the Little Red River in Arkansas in 1992, according to the Florida-based International Game Fish Association and the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum in Hayward, Wis.