``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.