Teen may have set Ohio record by catching 45-inch northern pike

13-year-old Sam Spataro reeled in the fish on Mentor Lagoons, but because he didn’t want to harm the sea creature, he let it go without weighing it for the record.

EASTLAKE, Ohio — There’s nothing like an evening spent on the water fishing. It’s something 13-year-old Sam Spataro loves to do.

“I always try my best to go out and catch fish,” he says.

“He’s caught steelhead galore, and walleye, too. He’s what his dad calls a “hammer.”

“I take pride in the face that I taught him to fish,” Brian Spataro admits, “but I can’t always take him to fish.”

Recently, Sam was out fishing on Mentor Lagoons with his brother and a friend, when it happened.

“I throw the lure up against a dock piling and let it sink all the way to the bottom,” he recalled. “And then I start reeling and I get thumped by a huge 45-inch pike.”

Sam immediately called his dad, who was home fixing dinner.

“When I picked up and answered, he was pretty much hyperventilating,” Brian said. “‘Dad! Dad! I finally did it! I caught my bucket list! Got a huge northern pike!'”

The Ohio state record pike is 43 inches long and weighs 22 pounds 6.08 ounces. However, Sam never had his 45-inch pike weighed. 

“I just released it because I care about the fish’s health, and that’s one of my main priorities to make sure it goes back swimming,” he told us. “I just want to see the fish live.”

The fish of a lifetime — and possible state record — gone, a decision dad is proud of.

“It’s a great feeling. He cares about the health of the fish and she still swims today,” Brian said. “Who says we can’t catch her again?”

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