A father and son will have a lifelong fishing tale to share and could be celebrating with a large cash prize after reeling in a 42-pound salmon from Lake Ontario near Cobourg on Wednesday evening.
As part of the first week of the second annual Silver Salmon Challenge, Jon Manners and his son Grant, 15, landed a Chinook salmon that officially weighed in at 42.86 pounds. The Brighton, Ont., anglers caught the fish off of Wicklow, just east of Cobourg, around 5 p.m.
The anglers said it took them about 40 minutes to get the salmon into their 23-foot boat, with Grant doing most of the reeling until his father took over near the end of the battle with the feisty fish.
“It was the greatest feeling in the world to have caught this,” said Grant. “It was the greatest moment of my life.”
The pair were trolling in about 85-feet water when one of the downriggers “went off real good,” said Jon, adding they knew it was a large fish but they weren’t certain of its size.
“Not till we saw it about 50 feet out and could see it come out of the water,” he said.
“We knew then it was about 40, 45 pounds,” added Grant. “It was a great feeling. Adrenaline was pumping — it was tiring.”
The Silver Salmon Challenges began June 19 and wraps up Aug. 29 with the grand prize of $100,000 for the largest catch. Anglers can also win up to $7,500 each week for the biggest fish.
The Manners are already well ahead of the competition — second place as of Wednesday evening was a salmon weighing 32.22 pounds, according to organizers.
According to tournament director Nick Foxcroft, the last time a Lake Ontario salmon weighing more than 40 pounds was reported on record was approximately a decade ago. The official record for the largest salmon caught in Lake Ontario is 47.13 pounds. The tournament’s 2020 winning catch was 35 pounds.
Foxcroft drove to the Cobourg Marina when officials there relayed the weigh-in.
“This is a big moment, father and son, start of the event, we couldn’t be happier,” he said. “Especially for the town of Cobourg. They are so supportive of the fishing community.”
Jon and Grant say they usually fish bass, but the largest fish they had ever caught was a 20-pound salmon.
Now they play the waiting game and keeping tabs on the tournament leaderboard, hoping their catch will hook the grand prize.
“But there is always a bigger fish in the lake,” said Jon. “You never know till it’s over.”
— With files from Pete Fisher/Today’s Northumberland