“This is a fish of a lifetime,” Landry, 79, said during a phone interview August 10.
The Clarence-Rockland senior turns 80 in October and has been an angler since at least when he was five and would go fishing with his father. He admits that he is not the most passionate of fishermen, spending anywhere from half an hour to an hour or more at a time when he decides to try his luck, regardless whether he catches anything or not.
But he was in the right place just at the right time when he decided to take his little boat out from his riverside home near Clarence Point out onto the Ottawa River on July 29.
“I was out for just 15 or 20 minutes,” he said. “There were quite a few fishermen out already.”
As his boat made its slow progress downstream, Landry felt a hard pull on his line. He tried to reel it in without success.
“I thought I was stuck on the bottom,” he said. “Then the ‘bottom’ started to move. So I thought that I had a big fish.”
A few of the other anglers close by watched from their boats as Landry slowly reel his line in until he realized what he had caught was a muskellunge that already looked too big for his little net to handle. One of the other fishermen motored over to ask if Landry needed help, but his net also wasn’t big enough for this catch. So the other angler phoned up a friend who was fishing around Parker Bay on the river to come help.
“He had a net as big as a car hood,” said Landry. “We tied the three boats up together, and I guided the fish into the net.”
Landry’s muskie measured 51 inches from tip to tail. While it was a trophy-sized fish, well worth the trouble it took to land, Landry decided to release it back into the river once it was measured and photos taken of him with his catch.
He just chuckles when asked what happens next.
That could very well end up as an even bigger and better fish story.