Just minutes before Murchison’s James Milne called it a day and reeled in his line while fishing in the Murray River at Tocumwal, he felt a dead weight on his line.
It had been a scorching 40°C day and he and girlfriend Hayley English were ready to get out of the boat and go for a swim.
‘‘I hadn’t caught anything all day,’’ he said.
Bored, hot and with nothing to take home, Mr Milne started flicking his yabby bait around in the water, ‘‘just mucking around’’.
‘‘I was being like a 12-year-old kid with the bait and then next thing I knew there was this huge dead weight on the end of it,’’ he said.
The former Wanganui Park Secondary College student was about to reel in the catch of a lifetime — a huge 1.2m Murray Cod.
Unable to lift the fish into his boat, Ms English drove the boat to the bank of the river where Mr Milne was able to hold the fish in the water using lip grabbers.
‘‘I thought, ‘none of my mates are going to believe me’,’’ he said.
He did not want to pick up the enormous catch, fearing it would not handle it well.
‘‘He wasn’t fighting me at all,’’ he said.
Mr Milne, 24, has been a keen fisherman all his life and the huge catch was double the size of his previous best, which measured 62cm.
And, after releasing the monstrous catch, Mr Milne and Ms English called it a day.
‘‘We just packed up straight away; I was done for the day,’’ he said.
Almost three days after he joined the ‘‘metre club’’, Mr Milne still could not believe it.
‘‘I just keep watching the video — I still can’t believe it happened,’’ he said.