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When 10-year-old Chase Stokes went fishing the other day, he never knew he’d be all over the news with his gigantic catch. The young boy brought his pole to a local Vermont lake and cast out into the water. It wasn’t long before he got a massive tug on the line. Even before he reeled it into shore, Stokes knew that he had a potential record breaker on the end of his line if he was able to get it ashore. He did everything he had been taught. He didn’t try to reel in the giant fish too soon for fear of breaking the line. Instead, he reeled whenever there was slack in the line. Eventually, he got the gigantic carp out of the water and onto land. “I was so happy, I just yelled out. I thought it must be a state record,” Chase said. And when the time came to measure it, he’d beaten the Vermont state record.
Weighing in a 33.25 pounds or 15.08 kilograms, Chase Stokes’s catch became the biggest ever caught in the New England state. The Rutland Herald first reported on the story and remarked that the carp was brought to a bait and tackle shop in New York to be weighed this past April.
“We were fishing for anything that might bite that day,” Stokes said. With a simple night crawler as bait, Chase was eager to fish. But “after a few big bites, this huge fish almost took my pole right off the stick.”
Although the fish was big, Stokes’s determination to catch it was bigger.
“It just started to take drag almost to the other side of the river,” he said. “I was just about tired out and got it to shore almost and it took right back off. It did that about three times. I knew it was going to be the biggest carp I ever caught.”
But only last month did the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department make Stokes’s record-breaking fish official. Compared to the previous record holder, Stokes’s carp was an entire quarter pound larger.
Since the fateful April day when he caught the fish, Stokes as turned 11. Stokes says that he choses to fish for carp because they’re “hard to find.” The boy likes a challenge and wants to catch something memorable instead of something easy, like most kids his age.
A representative from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, Shawn Good, admitted that Stokes was a “fishing maniac.” Even though he is just a boy, Stokes has earned the most trophy fish in Vermont’s Master Angler Program ever.
“He’s a fishing maniac, that’s for sure,” Good said. “He loves to fish. That’s his life passion. It keeps him going. He fishes nonstop, every waking moment. When he’s not in school, he has a fishing rod in his hand.”
Good went on to explain more about the Master Angler Program that started in 2010.
“Since 2010, when we first introduced the program, we have accepted and approved 4,887 trophy fish entries,” Good said, “and Chase Stokes has 439 of those, almost 10 percent. Chase is our most prolific participant in the Master Angler Program. Far and away, he has entered more trophy-sized fish than any other angler, adult or kid, in the seven years of the program.”
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