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Catch of a lifetime

Williamsport father and son reel in 49-inch musky

It was close to 10 p.m. William Breasette had already packed up his fishing gear on the bank of the Susquehanna River and was ready to head home. His son, Liam, wanted just one more cast.

That cast landed. What ensued was a 30-minute struggle which led to the fish story of a lifetime.

Liam, with help from his dad, reeled in a 49-inch musky. Both Breasettes called it a “once-in-a-lifetime fish.”

“We didn’t bring our net, so my dad had the most important role,” Liam said. “He was coaching me through the whole thing. He lunged into the water to get it when it was time.”

“Dads want to tell them how to do it, but he did a pretty good job on his own,” William said. “I kept telling him not to let the pressure off because if he jumps, he can get the lure out of his mouth.”

The question both of them have faced the most since landing the fish was where they caught it. Almost as if it was practiced, both laughed at the notion they’d give up their spot saying only it was somewhere along the Susquehanna River. It’s a spot the two have frequented because they always know if the fish are biting in this particular spot, they’re biting everywhere.

Their trips to this spot don’t usually involve predatory fish like the musky. Mostly they catch bass and release them from their spot on the shore.

They were so unprepared to catch a fish of this magnitude that they didn’t have a tote big enough to properly transport the fish. Liam was also using a 6-pound test line to haul in the fish, which presented a real possibility the line could snap with a fish of this magnitude. And even once they got the fish on shore, neither of them had a tape measure long enough to properly measure the fish.

William was concerned with whether or not the fish was long enough to be kept – musky must be a minimum of 40 inches long to be kept. Their initial estimation had the fish’s length at 43 inches. When they took it to the taxidermist the next day, it was officially measured at 49 inches. The Pennsylvania record for musky was a 57-inch fish which weighed 54 pounds. That record has stood since 1924.

It’s a big part of the reason Liam decided to have the fish mounted. It’s only the second time he’s had a fish stuffed and mounted. His other one came from a fishing trip when he was about 8-years-old, and that was a large mouth bass he said was 28 or 29 inches. He expects to have the fish back in about six months.

“I’ve never seen anything that big come out of the river,” Liam said. “The only thing we’ve ever caught are bass, trout and catfish. Every day it’s still surprising.”

“A lot of guys go a lifetime of fishing and never catch anything like that,” William said. “I’m glad he was the one who caught it.”

William started fishing as a kid when his own father would take him along on his own excursions. William described it as being “dragged” on the fishing trips in which he would whine because he wanted to go home while his dad would keep saying he wanted to catch just one more fish.

But it was a sport he grew to love. And it’s a love he’s transferred into Liam. Now, any time he has a day off from work, Liam finds himself with a line in the water. Liam called his father his “partner in crime” as they fish and cook together any chance they get.

It made it all the more special to both of them that they were able to share this experience. William was there to guide his son through the 30-minute battle and help him finish it off. Liam lights up at talking about how big his dad’s eyes got when they realized what was on the hook. William couldn’t contain his excitement for his son.

“It was probably one of the greatest moments we’ve had together,” William said. “To see him growing into a man and learning to love fishing like I do and see him catch it, that look on his face is irreplaceable.”

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