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Record breaker

John Curran
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (July 29/05) - Chris Bromley's recent trip to the East Arm may have earned him a spot in the record books.

On the last day of his trip to Indian Mountain Lodge, the Yellowknife angler went out in search of dinner with lodge owners Mark Avery and Jordan Harker.

NNSL Photo

Chris Bromley caught this 62.4-lb. lake trout, a potential world record according to the International Game Fish Association, on the last day of his trip to the East Arm, July 14.

He came back with memories of a 62.4-lb. lake trout he'll carry with him forever.

"We were after a few five or six-pounders so I was only using a six-foot Ugly Stik, a number two Five of Diamonds and 12-lb. test line," he said.

With four small eaters already in the boat, the trio was on one of their final passes over a reef about three miles west of the lodge.

"It hit and right away started peeling line," he said.

Recognizing immediately he had hooked into something a little bigger than the frying pan, Bromley had Avery throw the motor into reverse so they could catch up to the fish before it stripped all the line off his reel.

"I knew it was big, but with the tackle I was using even a 20-pounder would have felt like that," he said. "It just went straight to bottom and stayed there so I kept the tension on her to tire her out."

After about a half an hour, the fish started coming up and 10 minutes later the monster was on the surface.

"She just rolled over on her side like she was waiting for us to scratch her belly, so I did," he said.

A firm-believer in catch-and-release, Bromley was about to pop the hook out of the fish's mouth when Avery suggested he might want to lift the trout out of the water for a picture and some measurements. That's when he realized how big the laker actually was.

"I almost went right over the side of the boat," he said. "My knee was sore from hitting the gunwale when I fell."

The fish was 44.5 inches long, had a girth of 33.5 inches and weighed 62.4 lb.

This is one fish story that may have a happier than expected ending for both the catch and the angler.

It the case of the trout, Bromley released the East Arm behemoth.

"As soon as her head hit the water she started slapping her tail and took off right away back down to bottom," he said. "I only had it out of the water for 30 seconds."

For Bromley, the catch may have earned him a spot in the International Game Fish Association record books.

"The current record lake trout caught on 12-lb. test line is 50 lb. 8 oz.," said Becky Reynolds, the association's world records co-ordinator. "It came from Great Bear Lake in August 1984."

Before Bromley can have his name etched in the annals of history, he's got to send the Florida-based group several items.

"We need photos of the fish, the fisherman and the rod and reel," she said. "We also require some other things including witness statements and 50-feet of the line used to catch the fish."

Register his catch

Bromley intends to talk to Reynolds as soon as possible to see if he can register his catch for consideration. While his Great Slave lunker may soon take over the line-class record, the biggest of all time still belongs to Great Bear Lake. In 1995, Lloyd Bull landed a 72.25-lb. lake trout.

Admittedly not as big an angler as he used to be, Bromley said he wasn't even planning to fish during the fateful trip.

"I was just going to drive the boat... I ended up using (Harker's) rod," he said. "It was just part of the mystique of the trip."