Jean-Philippe Lartigue is officially a state record holder after landing an enormous rainbow trout in northern Maryland. Lartigue was fishing a section of Antietam Creek in Washington County on February 10 when he hooked into the big fish. 

“I knew the fish was a very large trout, but I did not see how big it was at the beginning of the fight,” Lartigue said in a Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) press release.  

A Frenchman originally from Morocco, Lartigue is a former fisheries biologist. His French father taught him a European style of using long rods with natural baits to dead drift worms in moving water for trout. He was using a 12-foot crappie rod and a spinning rod rigged with 8-pound test mono at the time of the catch. The fish struck a size 8 hook baited with a worm—the simplest and most effective bait in the history of fishing.  

“I finally saw the fish, and it made two very long runs to the opposite side of the creek and was hard to move. I also had to keep the fish away from some bridge abutments, which could have cut the line easily,” says Lartigue. “After a very long 30-minute fight, I was able to tire out the fish and grabbed it by the jaw with my fingers since I did not have a landing net large enough.” 

Lartigue then managed to wrangle the fish onto the bank. His epic catch was 32 inches long and weighed 17.44 pounds on a certified scale. “The catch shatters the previous record of 14.2 pounds caught by Dave Schroyer on October 21, 1987,” the MDNR press release states.

Read Next: Alabama Man Catches 16-Pound Largemouth Bass By Hand 

“We are extremely impressed by the weight of the fish, which bests the old record by over 3 pounds,” said MDNR Recreational Fisheries Outreach Coordinator Erik Zlokovitz. “[It was] a record that many of us in the department thought would never be broken.”