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On the mighty Snake River in the spring of 2018 we finally set the hook on the colossal sized White Sturgeon that we’ve been chasing for nearly three years now. This monster fish set us out on an hour-long battle that would push us both to our physical limits and test our equipment to the max. Already energized from a six-foot sturgeon earlier in the day we decided to make our way down-river to scan for larger fish and glimpsed two incredibly massive readings on the sonar. This either meant we found a downed tree or came across what we’ve been tirelessly searching for, monster sturgeon. We quickly found a spot on the bank to park the sterns of the kayaks and each baited up with half a trout then made our casts into the hole where the large tree sized arches had appeared on the sonar. Within seconds my co-angler Bryce was seeing the tell-tale sign of a sturgeon bite at the tip of his rod which is nearly identical to how a pond trout would gently tug at a dough bait. Bryce picked up the rod and dialed the drag to the strike zone, with a hard swinging hook-set the sturgeon was securely locked in for the ride of our lives. Instantly we both recognized that this fish was unlike any other we’ve ever hooked, it can only be described as a freight train racing at full speed down-river with the reel screaming like the train’s whistle. The immense power had quickly pulled Bryce off the power-pole anchor and had him cruising down-river like a jet ski, putting my rod away and retracting my power-pole anchor took just under ten or fifteen seconds but it was long enough to put around forty yards between the two of us. 


A few minutes went by and Bryce is now being towed up-river towards a very shallow section of river less than ten feet deep which meant that the fish was very close to the kayak. Knowing that White Sturgeon are famous for their aerial acrobatics I knew that this was shaping up for disaster if the Sturgeon decided to jump because there was a chance it would land on the kayak. No sooner than I finished that train of thought this tremendous Sturgeon was airborne and inches from Bryce’s CudaHD. Time stood still as I watched the entirety of the eight-foot-long fish come clear out of the water, thoughts flooded my mind about the safety of my co-angler and how he would likely not make it out of this moment unscathed. We’ve prepared for deep water re-entry in case either of us rolled and both had white-water knives to cut lines if we had become tangled. Luckily for Bryce the Sturgeon had just barely missed his paddle on the way down.


The resulting wave looked like an underwater mine had just gone off under Bryce’s kayak, his Cuda appeared to jump out of the water as it rode the swell rocking from side to side. The CudaHD is a well-balanced kayak for this type of fishery and Bryce had managed to keep it upright. Bryce continued to fight the beast for another forty-five minutes while I continued to scan for different places to safely land and measure this fish. We floated past our last possible safe landing zone and Bryce was having a hard time back-paddling against the river while still battling the sturgeon. 


I had to help to Bryce get to the tail end of an island by hooking my rod and reel to the back of his kayak and reeling them both in while my Power Pole was anchored in the river bed. This was truly a team effort at this point and it worked flawlessly.


This incredible fish went 96” long and 42” around with an estimated weight of 300lbs. This day will continue to live on in my memory for the rest of my life and one that I’ll tell my grand-children about the one that didn’t get away.

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