Gunars Jankovis, along with a friend, caught a 9.23kg fish from the below-freezing waters of Vilhelmina's largest lake over the weekend, breaking a regional record and seriously impressing locals.
Kenna Lindström, who was out fishing at the same time and captured the find on camera told The Local that “only very special fishing friends” would dare to seek catches at this time of year, when temperatures can regularly drop as low as -30C.
“They managed to get it out using an ice pick. It took a very long time and it was very cold and they were not even wearing gloves,” he said.
“They called me over to have a look,” he explained. However he said that he and his Swedish fishing buddies struggled to make conversation with the visitors, who only spoke Latvian.
“They came into Vilhelmina to show people (…) I don't think they ate it, I think they took it back to Latvia to show it off again,” the local fisherman added.
The catch weighed 9.23kg. Photo: Kenna Lindström
According to Lindström, the fish-loving tourist had been making the most of a new rule in the region which allows anyone to fish in the lake for just 60 kronor (around $7) a day. Previously only those living on nearby land had the right to seek a catch.
Jankovis broke a regional record set by a local man, Ragna Asproth, who took home a monster 8.08kg fish from the same lake earlier this month.
Both fish are believed to have somehow escaped from a neighbouring commercial fish farm in Malgomaj, since they are not native to the area.
“This is kind of an exclusive fish who only lives in the mountains (…) it was very fat,” said Linström of the record-breaking find.
“My friend actually found an even bigger one but he couldn't get it up out of the ice.”
Fishing is one of the most popular hobbies in Sweden, with official statistics released in 2014 suggesting more than 1.6 million Swedes enjoy the sport. Sweden's population is less than 10 million.