A Rhode Island ice fisherman broke the state record for rainbow trout in mid-January, and it wasn’t even close: Burrillville angler Zachary Taylor’s Jan. 18 catch weighed 15 pounds, 12 ounces, shattering the old record by more than three pounds.

Taylor hooked the rainbow with a jig stick while fishing at Peck Pond, a 13-acre impoundment in the Pulaski Memorial Recreation Area that is among the more than 80 designated trout waters stocked by state fisheries officials. He told the Valley Breeze newspaper that he had to grab the fish by the gills to wrangle it out of the 6-inch hole he’d cut in the ice. “Finally, with some finagling, it squeezed through,” Taylor said. “I was literally shaking with excitement and adrenaline.”

Judging by the video he shot with his cell phone and posted to his Instagram account, Taylor had good reason to be excited: He knew right away that he had something special. 

“I think I got the state record, baby!” Taylor screams, just seconds after hauling the fish onto the ice. “Whooooo mama! Look at the size of this thing!”

The trout measured 26 inches long and sported a 21-inch girth, according to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, which certified the catch as the new state record. The previous record rainbow weighed 12 pounds, 9 ounces and came out of Barber Pond in 2020.

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A finance director in Milford who’s been fishing since the age of four, Taylor took a day off work for the outing and found himself alone on the pond. The record rainbow is not his first experience with big fish. His Instagram feed includes a photograph of Taylor with a 500-pound tuna he caught in 2021 off the coast of Cape Cod.