After an hour in his one-man boat on Sunday, with no sign of life in the Bergeforsen stream, Uwe Lehrer suddenly felt a strong pull in his rod.
At first he thought he’d snagged something on the stream bed, but he was actually combating a 29-kilogramme salmon, among the largest ever caught in Sweden using a rod and reel.
“It was very exhausting,” Lehrer told The Local.
“I’ve caught a lot of salmon so I could tell this was an especially big one.”
The massive fish had at first kept quite still, lulling Lehrer into thinking he’d hooked a log or a rock.
But as he prepared to free his hook, the fish suddenly pulled away, dragging almost 200 metres of line with it.
Lehrer, who originally is from Stuttgart in Germany, has lived in the Medelpad region in northern Sweden for four years and is an avid sports fisherman.
While he admits the 29-kilo salmon is certainly a big fish, Lehrer has caught bigger, including an 80-kilo catfish and a 250-kilo marlin.
But the relatively small salmon still put up a comparable fight, Lehrer said.
“A marlin is easier in the way that the water isn’t full of trees for the hook to get caught in,” he chuckled.
“I got stuck twice with this one so it sure was a struggle.”
After bringing his catch home, Lehrer put the fish on a digital scale which showed a weight of 29.2 kilogrammes.
Close to a record, but not quite, Lehrer thought, recalling having seen records of a 31.5 kilogramme salmon being caught in Ljungan in northern Sweden.
What he didn’t know was that the Ljungan salmon was caught during prohibited season and thus hadn’t been approved as a Swedish record.
Thus, Lehrer’s fish constitutes a new record for a rod-caught salmon, besting the previous record from 1992 of 28.72 kilogrammes.
However, to officially get accredited for catching the biggest fish in Sweden, Lehrer would need a clear photo with an object of reference next to the fish.
The fish also needs to be weighed on a state approved scale, with witnesses.
Thus, despite reeling in what seem to be a record-large fish, Lehrer’s name won’t likely make the official Swedish record books.
Now his massive catch is chilling in the freezer, waiting for departure to Germany.
“I have a friend down there who will preserve it,” Lehrer told the Sundsvalls Tidning daily.
“Then I’ll hang it above my couch in the living room.”