Alayna Deschaine is an avid angler, and loves to go fishing with her dad, Kevin. And on Saturday, the 10-year-old Madawaska girl caught the fish of a lifetime while trolling on the St. John River not far from town.
“We started fishing early in the morning,” Kevin Deshaine said. “There’s this lure that we bought together, and she kept saying, ‘Daddy, that will work so good. We’ve got to use that one.’ So I put [that lure] on my pole and gave her another one that I caught a fish on the night before.”
Before long, that new, lucky lure paid off, as Kevin Deschaine’s rod bent to a strike.
“I had it on for a minute and told [Alayna] to reel up her line and get it out of the way. Then I said, ‘You ready?’ She grabbed the pole and brought [the fish] in the rest of the way,” he said.
The fish was a monstrous muskellunge, measuring 47 inches long and weighing 25 pounds.
In fact, the fish was nearly as long as Alayna is tall.
“She must be right around 50 inches [tall],” her dad said. “Maybe 52.”
Kevin Deschaine said he was trying to capture video of Alayna bringing the fish to the boat, but had to give up at one point.
“I had to put the [camera] down to lift the fish and put it in the net because the net was too small,” he said. “When it was in the net, we put it in the boat and she said, ‘I’m keeping that one! I’m keeping that one!'”
She did, and she’ll be able to enjoy it for a long, long time: The fish is being taken to a taxidermist to be mounted.
Afterward, it took some time for the excitement to wear off.
“She said, ‘Dad, my hands are shaking. My hands are shaking. What’s going on?'” Kevin Deschaine said. “I said, ‘This is why we do this. Mine too.'”
The duo did have one tiny regret: Kevin Deschaine pointed out that if they’d caught the fish during the annual Fort Kent International Muskie Derby instead of on a pleasure fishing trip, they would likely have won a hefty cash prize.
The good news: There are plenty more muskies where that one came from. And they’ve got some time left to make a plan for this year’s derby, which runs from Aug. 11 through Aug. 13.