12-year-old catches 26.6-pound salmon, hits the jackpot…literally

·2 min read

An annual father-son fishing trip produced a once-in-a-lifetime catch for a 12-year-old boy who landed a 26-pound, 10-ounce king salmon on Lake Ontario while fishing with Rochester Sport Fishing.

Finnan Murphy fought the salmon for 30 minutes with the fish “screaming out” line on runs of 600, 400 and 300 yards, Capt. Kip Mammano told NewYorkUpstate.com.

“I thought I’d lost the fish two times when it stopped fighting,” Murphy told NewYorkUpstate.com. “And then it would take off again. I’d reel and it just kept pulling line out. When I got it close to the boat, it dove and was pulling even more.

“When it was netted and on the boat, the captain said it might be a $15,000 fish. My jaw just dropped.”

Last Sunday was the 10th and final day of the Spring LOC Derby on Lake Ontario and, sure enough, Murphy’s fish turned out to be the grand-prize winner, beating out the 25-12 Chinook caught by Walter Zebker, 76, just the day before.

It was the first time an angler in the youth category (ages 10-15) had won the Spring Derby, which has been held since 1989.

The annual father-son fishing trip consists of three father-son duos. Finnan and his father Shane Murphy, Joel and Josh (17) Bezel, and Jeff and Jacob (17) Liberman—all from Pittsford, N.Y.—were all fishing with Mammano.

Amanda Murphy told NewYorkUpstate.com that during last year’s trip, Finnan was the only one in the group that didn’t get a chance to grab a rod, and reel in a fish, so he was the first in line this year.

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When Mammano netted the fish, he shook the boy’s hand and told him he was a winner.

“You could hear it in his voice,” Mammano told NewYorkUpstate.com. “He didn’t know what to think. He was intoxicated with energy and disbelief.”

It became official when the fish was weighed on a certified scale at the Wilson Boatyard.

What does young Finnan plan to do with his winnings?

“Most of the $15,000 will go to a college fund,” Finnan said at the LOC Derby Awards Ceremony at Captain Jack’s Restaurant in Sodus Point, according to the Buffalo News. “I would like to get my mom and dad a present, and maybe get a few toys and video games.”

Photos of Finnan and his fish, and Finnan with his trophies next to his father Shane and Capt. Mammano (holding fish) courtesy of LOC Derby and Rochester Sport Fishing

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