Update 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21
Harry Barber of Middlefield received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection's 3rd Annual Trophy Fish Award Ceremony, which was held on Saturday, Feb. 19 in Hartford.
Barber, a retired General Motors employee, is an avid angler and was recognized for his dedication to fishing, including a remarkable 10 trophy fish in 2010, the most recorded in the state.
"I heard clapping and it just kept going. It was great and I was amazed," Barber said today about the recognition.
Barber said he was happy to report that a friend, Paul Sadowski, who he helped guide during a fishing trip last year received the award for the largest northern pike caught in Connecticut in 2010.
"It weighed more than 17 pounds," Barber said.
Editor's Note: Barber also said that he has collected 73 pins for trophy fish, not 74 as previously reported. I'm sure he's on his way to collecting no. 74 and 75.
Most fisherman like to talk about the one that got away, but Harry Barber of Middlefield has the pins to prove he caught the big one - 74 of them actually.
Before Barber lands his 75th trophy fish, which he says is not a matter of if but when, he'll be one of more than 60 anglers recognized Saturday by the state.
Barber was invited to the 3rd Annual Trophy Fish Award Ceremony at the Northeast Fishing and Hunting Expo in the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, an event that recognizes anglers who've caught the largest fish in several species categories.
"I catch a lot of cats," Barber said, referring to catfish, which he said he doesn't target, but often lands while trolling for northern pike.
"I started fishing for catfish in 1964, I think. They introduced them into the river, but then people started catching them and putting them into ponds," Barber added while pointing to a photo of a 34-pound catfish that had been caught and later placed in a friends pond before dying of apparent natural causes.
"That's the fish my son caught [in 1990] to break my state record. But take a look at the weight, it was a lot smaller back then."
Barber's son Bryan caught the fish in Cedar Lake in Chester, but at the time it weighed less than 20 pounds.
"It's the only time that's happened, a father's record broken by his son."
Personal photos reveal Barber's passion for fishing, which he says includes both freshwater and saltwater angling.
"We fish in New York, Lake Ontario. I go down to Stonington. I've been to Texas."
Originally from Westerly, Rhode Island, Barber has lived in Middlefield since 1957 with his wife Betty, who for years enjoyed fishing alongside her husband. The couple's home is a short walk from Lake Beseck, which seems only fitting.
Barber, who would only admit to being in his eighties, hooked ten trophy fish in 2010.
He hopes to add at least one more very soon.