It might not be a state record, but it sure was a big fish.
Travis Heiberg, 18, reeled in the 52-inch Muskellunge when he was fishing on Melton Hill lake Wednesday.
"It felt amazing. I was shaking a ton. I was barely able to hold the net down," he said.
Angler Steven Paul has the current record for largest Musky caught in Tennessee, according to the TWRA's official records.
But Heiberg thinks his catch was close.
"A week or two ago that probably would’ve been the state record fish. It beat the state record fish in length," he said.
Because the fish was a female, Heiberg said it would've had extra weight from eggs a few weeks ago.
TWRA has a procedure in place to evaluate whether a fish breaks the state record. It involves forms and scales and witness signatures, but Heiberg didn't get into all that.
"We figured we’d just release it and let it live rather than find out what the weight was," he said.
"East Tennessee is absolutely a fisherman's paradise," said Mannie Bedwell from the University of Tennessee Extension office in Morristown. "Of course a trophy is always everybody’s goal, but most trips if you catch fish, you’re happy."
He said catching a world record fish doesn't always require top of the line gear.
"You see $40,000 boats, but you can get into fishing for a very small amount of money. That’s another great thing about it."
Heiberg, who caught the fish while out with guide Cory Allen, said he can't wait to get back on the water.
"I hope I catch bigger," he said.