“I have a school of perch close to 18 inches,” Bruce Fehr said.
The aquatic curator for the world’s largest Cabela’s called me back to talk about “his babies” this afternoon, June 13, 2008. He’s held his job since the store opened in Hamburg, Pa., in 2003.
Last week, Mike Norris, the Chicago-area fishing guru, happened to stop by the Hamburg Cabela’s on a business trip. He was so struck by an 18-inch yellow perch, thick black crappie and 15-pound largemouth bass that he called me. Then went back and took some photos of the perch.
The original post on Thursday drew enough interest that I called Fehr, nicknamed “Fish Boy” by his peers.
As promised, here’s some details.
“I feed them real good,” said Fehr, 53, a Penn state grad with a degree in environmental science and lots of follow-up science studies.
He feeds them pike shiners and minnows. He and his son caught many of the fish. Some came from a buddy’s pond. Other fish came from the Landingville dam area.
But once the fish go into the aquarium, that’s it. Other than making sure they eat well.
“I don’t mess with them,” he said. “You can’t play with them.”
He said his biggest crappie is as long as the 5- and 6-pound largemouth bass, but thicker. It was 17 inches when first brought to the tank.
The biggest largemouth, estimated at 15 pounds, was 1 ounce shy of 10 pounds when a kid originally brought it in.
He has 50-inch muskie and big catfish.
I understood when Fehr said, “It gets in your blood.”
I plan to visit the store next month and see Fehr. For more information on the world’s largest Cabela’s and directions, it’s in eastern Pennsylvania just off I-78, go here.