Barrett Junction Cafe & Mercantile

The Legend and Lore in the Shadow of Tecate Peak: A Fish Story

Barrett Lake monster fish

The Barrett Lake  Monster Fish Story

Believe it or Not!

Us country boys know it’s hard for people out from the “Big City” to appreciate a great fish story without proof…. So, look up!  This is the one that did not get away!

If you’re hooked… then read on!

As the Barrett fish story goes… it’s been all the talk for decades.  Local old-timers like Judd Troy, Don Sheckler, Ed Camp, Ben Garland, & Joe Klasen and others have seen the Barrett monster fish from time to time.

Alan, the owner of the Barrett junction feed store, hooked it up one time on 40-lb. test line and a salt-water rod and reel, but it wasn’t good enough, for it broke the pole into two pieces on the first run.  That was in 1985.

We all knew it had to be bigger than the current world record of 24 lbs. 2 oz.

It wasn’t until the morning of 4/1/2002, 18 hours after “the monster” was hooked, that the truth was really known about the “Giant of Barrett”.

The Barrett monster fish was a New World Record.  It’s true measurements were 39 inches in total length and 55 lbs. in overall weight.  Sha-Zam…WOW!

As the story goes…

A local, Mr. Steve “Bow Breaker” Smith, was the MAN that landed this back country whopper.  Steve happened to be at the Barrett lake bow fishing for his favorite fish…. Carp.  At about 10:29 and 30 seconds, Steve noticed something causing a wake of water approximately 150’3” from him.  He got so excited that he broke the bow that he had borrowed from Leon Herzog, the owner of the Barrett Junction Café.  Steve could feel the Barrett monster fish approach.  He knew he had only one chance to catch the “Behemoth of Barrett ”, but he had no fishing gear.

Being an ex-green beret and eagle scout he knew he would have to improvise.  Flash!  Steve noticed a Pepsi soda can that was properly disposed of in a near by trash receptacle… that coupled with a two-pack of Oral-B dental floss he found in his back pocket, he knew he had a good start… but what about the hook?  BANG!  A second blast of brilliance hit him.  He had a P-38 military can opener on his key ring.  At last, he was finally down to bait selection.  Bow Breaker Smith knew that this fish would not be caught on no ordinary conventional bait!  It was too old and too smart!  Pink “baseball chew” bubble gum, was his final selection.  Motivated by his championship fishing gear, assembly was performed with the skill of a surgeon within seconds.

With a rodeo style toss and a flick of his wrist… the two-inch bait ball landed within a foot of the monster’s open mouth.  Well…. The rest is history!  During the 18-hours that Bow Breaker Smith was hooked up, the news of the event had attracted many of the locals.  Some of the old timers like Doug & Jim Wright, Mike Carroll, Chuck Bock and Bob Harris, all agree that this WAS NOT the “Behemoth of Barrett ”, but one of its babies. The community members of Dulzura, Barrett Junction, Tecate Norte, and Potrero, still think the “big one” lurks in deep waters of Barrett Lake.

Now that the secret is out…   For more information on the lake, you can learn more on the web here.  Other sources of information include:SD Fish and SD County Site for Fishing rules.



Map of Barrett Junction

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