NEWBURGH, N.Y., May 21 (UPI) -- State officials confirmed today that Eric Lester and the 60-pound striped bass he reeled in from the Hudson River on Tuesday are now state record holders -- largest striped bass ever caught in New York.
Lester hauled in the 53.4 inch-long female fish after a grueling 15-minute tussle in the waters near Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, which spans the river some 70 miles north of New York City.
"Honestly, I'm still waiting to wake up," Lester told the Daily News of his record catch. "It still feels like I'm dreaming. It's just crazy."
Lester was fishing alone, and after bringing the fish onboard, the 32-year-old went ashore and took photographic evidence of the his unbelievable catch. He sent the photos to New York's Department of Environmental Conservation. Officials there confirmed his record-breaking accomplishment.
"This is a remarkable new record catch," DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens said in a statement. "I congratulate Mr. Lester on his success and determination in catching the largest recorded inland striped bass in New York and encourage others to take advantage of the many outstanding fishing opportunities New York has to offer."
Biologists at the DEC estimated that the fish is at least 20 years old.
The behemoth striped bass is the second largest fish of any kind ever caught in New York waters. Only a 69-pound, 15-ounce Muskellunge caught almost a half-century ago bests it.