Northern Minnesota is one of the most popular fishing destinations in the world. Lake Vermilion, in particular, is the home of some of the best sport fishing in the United States. That couldn't have been truer than in August.

Cory Kitzmannn of Davenport, Iowa, was fishing the lake that August day near his family's cabin. He had been hitting up all his favorite fishing spots for the entire day, going up and down the lake. But when he tried that bucktail lure on, he had no idea that a surprise was in store for him.

Kitzmann told the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that when he set the hook, he knew he had a nice fish. It wasn't until he got the picture up next to the boat and it came to the surface that he noticed he had a monster. His record-breaking "muskie" was 57 and 1/4 inch long, weighing in at 47 pounds.

Lucky for him and there was another angler nearby who jumped into his boat to help him land the fantastic fish. His catch set a new state record for muskellunge. The previous record was established in 2016 at 56 and 7/8 inches in length. Talk about the one that didn't get away! Like a true gentleman of the sport, he weighed the fish, snapped some pictures and released it so someone else could catch the beauty.

Kids swimming at Vermillion
My family swimming at Lake Vermilion in June Benjamin Minick

This catch would be special for any fisherman at any time. But for Kitzmann, it had particular sentimental value. As he prepared his fishing gear that day, he received a phone call notifying him that one of his best friends had passed away from a medical condition. His friend was only 40 years old. Kitzman was now out on the lake that day, remembering his friend.

When reflecting on the moment that he caught that fish, he couldn't help but think that his friend was smiling down on him that day. DNR certified the catch on Oct. 11.