KNOX COUNTY -- One lucky East Tennessee fisherman reeled in the catch of a lifetime this week on Melton Hill Reservoir and it looks like it will land him a spot in the record books.

Angler Stephen Paul caught a 43 lbs. 14 oz. Muskellunge, better known as musky, while fishing Thursday night on the Knox County portion of the reservoir.

It's particularly impressive because musky are challenging to catch, especially when they get older and wiser, according to a release from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

But fortunately, the giant musky was aggressive enough to bite Paul's artificial lure around 6 p.m.

His friend Dylan Gano was on hand during the historic catch.

Paul explained that he only considered weighing the fish for a state record because it died in his net when it was landed. Otherwise, he said he would have released it back into the water.

Officials met Paul in Dandridge about three hours later to weigh and verify the new pending state record fish.

The former state record musky weighed 42 lbs. 8 oz. and was caught in Norris Reservoir on April 27, 1983 by angler Kyle F. Edwards, TWRA said.

TWRA Fisheries Biologist Jim Negus estimates the fish to be between 12-15 years old, but says that Melton Hill musky have been known to reach 50 inches by ten years of age.

Once the paperwork is certified in TWRA's Nashville office, the fish will be certified as the new state record.