It’s been said, “There are two types of fisherman — those who fish for sport and those who fish for fish.” — Unknown
Make no mistake about it, 3-year-old Trey Harrison of rural Nevada fishes for fish.
In fact, on his first fishing outing, which happened this summer, Trey caught a fish that was nearly bigger than he is. It’s a great story, and one his father, Travis, is happy to tell.
It started when the Harrison family — Travis; his wife, Brett; and their two children, Lexi, 5, and Trey — were invited to Canada for a family vacation by Trey’s grandpa, Marty Mortvedt of Nevada.
The Mortvedts rented two cabins at a camp near several lakes, and about midway through the vacation, and right after lunch on Monday, Aug. 6, the men on the trip — Grandpa Marty, Austin Mortvedt (Trey’s uncle), Travis and Trey — headed out to go fishing.
“Trey wanted to go fishing with the guys,” Travis said. Luckily, he had purchased a small kids’ 4-foot long fishing pole for Trey so he could go out with the big guys.
They started their fishing for the day on Thaddeus Lake, but the fish weren’t biting, Travis said. The big guys were going to call it quits, but Trey urged them to keep fishing. So, Grandpa Marty took them on a 20-minute boat ride to another nearby body of water, Ord Lake.
Marty stopped the boat and not three minutes later, Trey was “white-knuckled” as his dad described it, trying to hold on to something on his line. “I look over at him and his pole was bent way over,” Travis said. “I thought he got snagged…his eyes were so big.”
Travis was sitting right next to him and grabbed ahold with his son. It was soon apparent that this wasn’t a snag, there was a real fish on the line, and it was a strong one.
“The drag was zipping,” Travis said. Uncle Austin’s help was needed, too.
The first time the fish came up where they could see it, “it was huge,” Travis said.
“I thought, it’s a shark,” said Trey as he listened to his dad tell the story.
“We all got really excited; it was a monster,” Travis said.
Three times they had the fish almost netted and lost it.
“I started to think this was going to be one of those fishing stories that would end, like so many you hear, where they get something on the line but could never get it in,” Travis said.
The scene was a wild one, and Travis said that Grandpa Marty kept yelling, “We’re going to tip the boat, we’re going to tip the boat.”
Finally, on the fourth try to net the fish, they did it. “It actually bent the net’s frame, it was so big,” Travis said.
What Trey caught was a 43-inch long, 20-plus pound muskie. And Trey is only 42 inches tall and weighs about 34 pounds. His father still shakes his head about how his son held on for those first few seconds before he helped take the line.
“I’ve fished since I was a kid and never caught anything this size,” Travis said. Grandpa Marty has been going up to Canada to fish his whole life and never caught anything that big. Travis showed the one hook on the lure that was bent way out. “It only caught one of the hooks…but we hooked him on the outside of his lip, which is why he didn’t bite through.”
Normally, muskie fishermen have a steel leader on the end of their rod, so the muskie, with its sharp teeth, can’t bite through the line.
“There were guys all over out there who spend thousands of dollars on everything needed to get a muskie. And this was a $15.99 special from Walmart,” Travis laughed.
Word got around fast about the 3-year-old’s magnificent catch.
“The whole camp knew about it and everybody was coming over to meet Trey and give him a knuckle-bump, didn’t they,” Travis asked Trey as he talked, and Trey nodded and put his fist up to show how they fist-bumped him as a show of congratulations.
Since muskies are prized and protected, they are a catch and release fish. After measuring it and getting some pictures with it, they put the tuckered out fish back into the lake. “It was tired. We moved it in the water back and forth a bit, and then it took off,” Travis said.
They did more fishing while they were there because Trey is now wanting to fish even more. He said, “I like catching fish.” Indeed he does.
But he’s going to have to get a new pole, because the one he was using for his epic catch is pretty much destroyed. “The gears got stripped out of it from the fish fighting so hard,” said his dad.
Trey’s little pole that caught the big fish is going to be retired. His grandma, Sherri Mortvedt, is planning to pair the pole and lure with a 16-by-20 canvas of pictures of the catch and make a wall hanging for Trey’s bedroom. And Travis plans to send the fishing pole company, Zebco, a few pictures of what happened with the pole and the big catch and see if they’ll replace the rod and reel for his son. If they don’t, at least they’ll know the fish that was caught with a pole that was rated for only a 6-pound catch.
As to how much Trey understands about the magnitude of the catch he had on Ord Lake, his father admits, he doesn’t understand it right now. He’s too young. Travis can’t wait until Trey’s old enough to understand it and realize that some people never get the chance to catch a fish like that.
“He may never catch one like this again,” his father said. “It’s really pretty amazing.”