â??This is the one.â??
Thatâ??s what Milt Barr thought the second he felt a tug on his line Thursday morning at Bennett Spring State Park. Now he has a fish tale to tell for the rest of his life.
The avid angler has been fishing at Bennett Spring for nearly half a century, but hasnâ??t been to opening day in years. This year he decided to go, and it paid off.
Barr was standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the water with other anglers when at the sound of a pistol shot at 6:30 a.m., he and everyone else casted their lines into the chilly water. It didnâ??t take long for a trout to latch on to his lure.
Thatâ??s the moment Barr knew he had something special waiting for him on the other end of his reel.
â??It takes patience to know when to tug and when to guide,â?? Barr explained, and patience he had.
It took him about 10 to 15 minutes to reel in the catch of his lifeâ?¦ a lunker. Thatâ??s a trout weighing at least 3 pounds. Barrâ??s went beyond that, weighing nearly 5 pounds.
As the trout neared the surface he said the atmosphere at Bennett Spring was more like Mizzou Arena when despised opponents are taking on the Tigers.
â??It sounded like the MU/KU game when I netted the fish,â?? Barr recalled with a smile on his face.
It said it isnâ??t easy to catch a trout with a net, and when he did it with his large lunker, the crowd of anglers went wild.
This is the biggest trout Barr has ever caught.
It also was the first lunker recorded at Bennett Spring this season.
State park officials took a picture of Barr with his prized catch, and they plan on putting the photo on the Bennett Spring State Park website for all of Missouri to see and admire.
Barr also will be able to admire the fish for a lifetime. Heâ??s getting it mounted at a place in Oak Hill, which is just outside Lebanon.
Barr is hoping to catch another lunker. He plans on going back to Bennett State Park for more trout fishing this season.