On the night of January 13, 2022, New Hampshire angler Ryan Ashley caught a lunker cusk whereas ice fishing at Lake Winnipesaukee that put his identify within the file books. The cusk, which is often known as burbot, weighed 12 kilos, 8.48 ounces. It was practically three ft lengthy and has already been licensed by New Hampshire Fish and Recreation as a brand new state record. Ashley caught the spectacular specimen whereas fishing along with his cousin Paul Tasker, Jr. at what they name “Paradise’s spot.”
Paul Paradise was a household pal who handed away two years in the past. Ashley says his grandfather, who was the primary New Hampshire Fish and Recreation chief, died when Ashley was younger. So Paradise, who was Ashley’s grandfather’s greatest pal, taught him hunt, entice, and fish. “He just about launched me to outdoor,” Ashley tells F&S. “It was an emotional second to get a state file out of his spot. I want I may have seen his face. I do know he would’ve been smiling ear-to-ear.”
Ashley says he hooked into the file fish at about 9 p.m. on the thirteenth. He was utilizing a 28-inch HT Enterprises Fast Stix Extreme DX Ice Spinning Combo spooled with 6-pound-test line. He’d caught two or three smaller cusk earlier than one thing massive took his A.J.’s Customized Deal with Swimstick. “It was identical to growth, it’s on,” remembers Ashley. The fish instantly began taking out the drag and Ashley fearful it will spool him. Finally, he was in a position to cease the fish and slowly start pumping it in. All in all, Ashley says the struggle took about quarter-hour. And when he lastly introduced the cusk by way of the ice fishing gap, Ashley says he instantly knew it had the potential to be a brand new state file. “It was unbelievable,” he says. “I by no means would’ve thought I’d catch [the state record]. After I picked the fish up with two fingers by the pinnacle, each my fingers simply match inside its mouth.”
Ashley and his buddies usually goal cusk on New Hampshire’s lakes. Ashley says the cod-like fish is the “poor man’s lobster” and makes for a few of the greatest consuming round. He sometimes makes use of the fish’s white, flaky flesh for chowder. However Ashley received’t be consuming his 35-inch-long state file. He plans to get it mounted and donate the remainder of the fish’s stays to New Hampshire Fish and Recreation to be analyzed by company biologists.
Ashley is a devoted ice fisherman, and regardless of catching a record-sized fish, he saved fishing with Tasker Jr. for a pair extra hours that evening. He says that among the finest elements of the entire expertise was catching the file fish on the identical spot the place he’d realized fish—and the place he’d taken his two-year-old daughter to catch her first rainbow trout. His subsequent purpose as an angler is to catch a 20-plus-pound lake trout. “Ice fishing is what I do,” He says. “I began doing it once I was three years previous, and I don’t assume I’m ever going to cease.”