B.C. fisherman reels in a whopper while on call with surgeon

Murray Zelt caught a 27-pound lake trout on Horse Lake on Jan. 27. (Jeff McMichael photo - submitted)Murray Zelt caught a 27-pound lake trout on Horse Lake on Jan. 27. (Jeff McMichael photo - submitted)
Murray Zelt credits his lucky t-shirt from his grandson Zayden for his ice-fishing success. (Photo submitted).Murray Zelt credits his lucky t-shirt from his grandson Zayden for his ice-fishing success. (Photo submitted).
Murray Zelt caught a 27-pound lake trout in Horse Lake. (Photo submitted).Murray Zelt caught a 27-pound lake trout in Horse Lake. (Photo submitted).

Murray Zelt’s grandson has dubbed him “Papa the Fish Whisperer.”

Zelt lived up to that name this week when he hooked a 27-pound lake trout in Horse Lake.

“It’s a trophy type of fish for sure, a fish of a lifetime,” Zelt, 57, said. “I’m on Cloud 9.”

Zelt, who had surgery over Christmas, was slated to go to Kamloops for a follow-up medical visit on Wednesday, Jan. 27 when he got a call asking if he could do the consult over the phone due to COVID-19.

He agreed and since he was up early, decided to go ice fishing. He chose Horse Lake because it had good cell service and he could do the consult from the ice. He’d been fishing for an hour and hadn’t got a bite but as soon as the surgeon called “my reel starts screaming.

“I could tell it was pretty special,” he said.

The surgeon, also a fisherman, was on the phone encouraging him. After the call ended, it took him another 15 minutes to get the fish out of the water. Local Jeff McMichael was fishing nearby and helped lift it through the ice. Fortunately, there were two holes close together as it would have been a tight squeeze getting it out of the standard eight-inch ice fishing hole.

READ MORE: Hooked on fishing in South Cariboo

“We were both like kids in a candy store when we got it on the ice,” Zelt said.

After a quick look and some photos, they slid it back into the water. “It’s probably as old as I am. Fish that big are 40, 50 years old,” he said. “They’re not that good eating when they get to that size.”

Zelt, an avid fly fisherman, had never really fished for lake trout before. Two days earlier, he was excited to land a 14-pound lake trout on the same lake. He partly credits his lucky t-shirt from his grandson Zayden – emblazoned with the words Papa the Fish Whisperer – for his streak.

As he watched the lake trout pull away from his hand and swim into the depths, he said it was doubly rewarding that his doctor had encouraged him to go outside and be active as part of his healing. He later texted the photos to his surgeon as the two “really hit it off,” he said.

“To be rewarded like that I feel truly blessed. I’ll probably never beat that in my lifetime but I’m content.”


@kellysinoski
kelly.sinoski@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

100 Mile House

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Chemainus teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

Pamela Anderson was given a Ladysmith Heritage Award for the restoration work on the Arcady Auto Court property that she purchased from her grandparents. (Pamela Anderson photo)
PHOTOS: Star-studded Ladysmith Heritage Awards honour local commitments to heritage

Barrie McDonald, Pamela Anderson, John & Luke Marston, and the Ladysmith Maritime Society recognized

Kim McGregor died in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run accident in Chemainus. (Photo submitted)
Victim identified in Valentine’s Day Chemainus hit-and-run

Kim McGregor grew up in Chemainus and had recently returned to be close to his parents

Ella Donovan with mom Tina outside Fuller Lake Arena before heading onto the ice for practice. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Young Ladysmith skater watches and waits in battle against cancer

Ella Donovan’s tumour began a tumultuous time, but community support eased the burden

The Ladysmith Museum has two new exhibits open to the public. (Cole Schisler photo)
Ladysmith museum opens up with two new exhibits

The museum is featuring Prime Predators of Vancouver Island and ‘Red Flag, Red Flag’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way inside business in Nanaimo

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres on Friday

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

RCMP say a woman turned herself in to police after hitting a pedestrian and fleeing the scene of the accident in downtown Nanaimo on Friday morning. (File photo)
Driver flees, then turns herself in after hitting pedestrian in downtown Nanaimo

RCMP say woman was struck in marked crosswalk after driver ran red light

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Most Read