Usually when you reel in a big fish, you do not expect to engage the fish in hand-to-hand combat. But that was the case when a Missouri fisherman “bear-hugged” a 65-pound striped bass out of a lake in Missouri.

Lawrence Dillman fought the monster striped bass for 45 minutes on a pole with 20-pound test until he could get it to shallow waters, he told the Missouri Department of Conservation. That’s when he jumped in the water and wrestled it to shore. Turns out it breaks a state record.

“Once the fish was on the line, I knew I had a decent one, but I didn’t at all think it was a striped bass,” Dillman said, according to a press release. “I thought it was a spoonbill or something else. But when I got him to the bank I knew I had something amazing.” 

Dillman said he caught the behemoth using a chub minnow. Missouri wildlife officials verified the catch as a state record at 65 pounds, 2 ounces with a length of 49 ¾ inches and a girth of 36 inches. That surpasses the previous state record set in 2011.

The Missouri fisherman’s catch is especially intriguing given that striped bass are traditionally a saltwater fish. Similar to salmon, striped bass normally spawn in freshwater and spend their adult lives in saltwater. But several varieties of striped bass have become landlocked over the years due to river dams and others have been introduced into lakes and ponds.

The largest landlocked striped bass was 70.6 pounds caught in Alabama 2013, while the largest striped bass altogether was a near 82-pounder caught off the coast of Connecticut in 2011.

Dillman’s catch from Missouri is said to be at the local Bass Pro Shops getting mounted.

Photo credit: Missouri Department of Conservation