It may have only been her third musky, but 14-year-old Sarah Terry caught one that really, really counted.
Fishing on Cave Run Lake November 3, Sarah caught a 54-inch musky that had a 26 1/2-inch girth and weighed 47 pounds. The musky is the new Kentucky state record, surpassing a 44.38-pound fish caught by Scott Flatt of Lexington, Kentucky, on May 9, 1998.
Sarah, of Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, and a freshman at Montgomery County High School, was fishing with her family when the big fish was caught. The family includes her stepfather, Scott Salchli, a Cave Run musky guide and PMTT pro, her mother, Mary Kay Salchli, and 7-year-old sister Carli Salchli.
“It was just too beautiful of a day to pass up and we knew cold weather would be here soon enough and our fishing days would be numbered soon,” Mary Kay Salchli said.
The family spent much of the day trolling, but as of mid afternoon hadn’t had any action. Sarah suggested the family cast a few times before wrapping up the day on the lake.
After about 30 minutes of casting Sarah hooked the monster in the second turn of a figure-8. “I saw it chasing after my bait as I cranked my Double Cowgirl through the water and I thought to myself this is the biggest fish I’ve ever seen,” Sarah said.
The musky didn’t put up much of a fight after inhaling the lure. Scott Salchli said he heard Sarah yell and then saw the fish. He grabbed the net, instantly realizing it was a huge musky. After netting the musky, Scott called fellow guide Tony Grant on his cellphone and asked for help with the deeply-hooked fish. Working together, Salchli and Grant quickly removed the hooks, but the fish could not hold itself upright.
“Taking the fish to be certified on scales wasn’t an easy decision because we’ve always practiced catch and release. We knew that the fish was hurting due to the bait it swallowed and was in distress. We tried floating her in the water but she was having difficulties and that’s when we decided to have it weighed,” noted Sarah.
Sarah was using a purple and gold Double Cowgirl. She has been musky fishing for a little more than a year and a half, but began fishing when she was old enough to hold a rod. She fishes with her stepfather every chance she gets, and had previously caught two muskies measuring 33 and 44 inches.
“It’s just been an unbelievable experience and I couldn’t be more proud of Sarah,” Scott Salchli said.
Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife biologist Fred Howes confirmed the state record that night.
The musky is being mounted by Rick Lax Taxidermy of Conover, Wisconsin. Lax will also create molds of the fish for replica mounts