January 25th, 2021

The one that didn’t get away

By Jensen, Randy on June 3, 2020.

Blair Murphy and Noah Higgins pose with their massive catch of the day, a sturgeon weighing over 130 pounds and 71 inches long, Friday evening on the Oldman River. Photo submitted by Blair Murphy

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald


After endless hours of fishing along the Oldman River and having no results, a local man finally found his catch of a lifetime when a large sturgeon took the line and forced him and two other young men into a 30-minute battle.

On Friday evening, after almost a week of fishing all day, Blair Murphy was disappointed in the results of his hours of fishing. When he had enough he called to his deceased loved one to help him out and, lo and behold, a 70-inch, 130-pound sturgeon took his line.

“I was down there for 60 hours in that week at 10 hours a day, and it was getting very frustrating. My father passed away 11 years ago that day so I called to him and said I need some help and in less than 10 minutes I had him on and I fought with him for a half hour,” says Murphy. “It is a whopper! It is big, we figure it was about 130-140 pounds, and it was 43 inches round and 70 inches long. When I look back at it, it was a beast.”

Along for the fight of a lifetime, two young boys, Noah and Hunter Higgins, assisted Murphy in his battle, as they were pulled along the riverside for quite some ways.

“After 60 hours I was getting really discouraged, and I love to fish and know how to fish well, and the sturgeon’s bite was so soft and I thought I had another sucker, but once I saw the back come up, I couldn’t believe it,” says Murphy. “I want to give credit to the two kids that were fishing with me and helping me net him. Hunter was netting it, I was on the rocks and Noah was on the line and we ended up going a very long way down the river before we got him in.”

The fight to land the large sturgeon was not only long, but also an injury prone one as Murphy ended up being pulled to the ground onto a branch, puncturing a hole in his arm and cracking a rib. Although a little sore from the fight, Murphy says he would do it again any day.

“You get them in that fast water and they just go. I have never seen a fish go that hard up and down the river bottom and I was ready to swim if he decided to cut across, because you don’t get a fish like that very often,” says Murphy. “It is such a thrill, but I ended up falling down and now I have a big hole in my arm with some stitches and a broken rib, but that’s fishing. My son asked me if it was worth it and I said I’d do it in a minute. If you don’t keep going, you’re not going to catch.”

As a long-time fisherman, Murphy says it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it was even more enjoyable being able to share it with upcoming young fishermen.

“These two young guys helped me a lot. You don’t bring in a fish like that on your own, and what a thrill for them, too, because they were both around 18, to see a fish like that caught and be a part of netting it, I was screaming I was so happy, and they were ecstatic,” says Murphy.

Releasing the fish back into Oldman River, Murphy says the experience of this catch was a blessed moment of his life, and really shows the incredible wildlife hiding under the waters of the Oldman.

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imagine having your day interrupted by annoying fish with nothing more productive to do in a day, and no less a selfish way to pass their time, than looking to hook humans.
imagine how tired the fish is and will remain for some time as it tries to keep itself alive in a greatly compromised state. this is how one honours or remembers loved ones? as if.
more human hubris.