The Big Fish That Got Away Stories

keirstream

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Requested by Kingfisher to start a new thread, so I'll kick off my contribution from the annals of the River Earn,

In the 80s and 90s the Earn was famous for huge back end fish and it was a goto destination for anglers all over the Central belt.
At that time I was privileged to have access to Coqhualzie beat owned at the time by Frank Thomson who had an Ironmongers and sporting equipment shop in Crieff. I was introduced to Frank by a friend, Ian Bennett who was ABU rep and sold tackle to Frank, Ian also fished the beat.
One late September day myself and my brother were spinning in the deep holding pool above the weir. I was using my new 6001 LHW multiplier and a 23/4 inch metal brown / gold devon. At that time, most anglers either moulded aluminium devons themselves or knew someone who did. It was simply the most popular and successful bait on the Earn in highish water conditions.
Which it was that day, just over 2 feet of water and clean.
The pool has around 150 yards of fishable water upstream from the weir until you reach trees which are impossible to get beyond.
Standard practice was to spin or worm all the way down to the weir which I had done and threw a final cast before moving on.
The devon stopped mid stream. It was solid and immovable, So, thumb on spool and tension cranked up I walked backwards putting full on strain onto the 20lb Maxima. Something moved ever so slightly so I'm thinking that I had hooked a sunken branch.
So, wind up tight again and repeat. I repeated this 6 times, each time gaining a few inches but still none the wiser until the "branch" moved upstream a yard. My brother and I exchanged surprised looks and a "no, it couldn't be" kind of glance.
More pressure and up it moved again, a little further this time but settled back down into an immovable position.
Long story short, after 40 minutes of gaining inches, the fish got thoroughly pissed off and decided to head upstream in a slow and deliberate pace. I could do absolutely nothing about it and, as it approached the tree line, I cranked the tension up to maximum and bent solidly into it, trying my best to turn it.
Now, I'm no stranger to big fish and the Earn at that time had plenty, but this was something else.:eek::eek:
It just continued upstream, peeling line off the reel as if it was free spooling untill it reached the garden pool some 120 yards above me. By that time , so much drowned line, intense pressure and back came the devon with the hooks completely mangled.
We never saw that fish.:( My brother still talks about it to this day, how the veins were sticking out in my neck trying to turn it.
Anyway, next evening, I got a phone call from Ian Bennett who had just returned from fishing the next beat above the one I had been fishing.
"Tam", he said, "you're not going to believe this, but today, only a few feet from me, a huge fish nosed and tailed twice. It was enormous, easily 50lbs!!!" Ian had several big fish over 30lbs and a couple of 40s to his credit. He knew what he was seeing.
I, meanwhile, was on the floor in the fetal position, sobbing inconsolably.:(
 

kingfisher

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Requested by Kingfisher to start a new thread, so I'll kick off my contribution from the annals of the River Earn,

In the 80s and 90s the Earn was famous for huge back end fish and it was a goto destination for anglers all over the Central belt.
At that time I was privileged to have access to Coqhualzie beat owned at the time by Frank Thomson who had an Ironmongers and sporting equipment shop in Crieff. I was introduced to Frank by a friend, Ian Bennett who was ABU rep and sold tackle to Frank, Ian also fished the beat.
One late September day myself and my brother were spinning in the deep holding pool above the weir. I was using my new 6001 LHW multiplier and a 23/4 inch metal brown / gold devon. At that time, most anglers either moulded aluminium devons themselves or knew someone who did. It was simply the most popular and successful bait on the Earn in highish water conditions.
Which it was that day, just over 2 feet of water and clean.
The pool has around 150 yards of fishable water upstream from the weir until you reach trees which are impossible to get beyond.
Standard practice was to spin or worm all the way down to the weir which I had done and threw a final cast before moving on.
The devon stopped mid stream. It was solid and immovable, So, thumb on spool and tension cranked up I walked backwards putting full on strain onto the 20lb Maxima. Something moved ever so slightly so I'm thinking that I had hooked a sunken branch.
So, wind up tight again and repeat. I repeated this 6 times, each time gaining a few inches but still none the wiser until the "branch" moved upstream a yard. My brother and I exchanged surprised looks and a "no, it couldn't be" kind of glance.
More pressure and up it moved again, a little further this time but settled back down into an immovable position.
Long story short, after 40 minutes of gaining inches, the fish got thoroughly pissed off and decided to head upstream in a slow and deliberate pace. I could do absolutely nothing about it and, as it approached the tree line, I cranked the tension up to maximum and bent solidly into it, trying my best to turn it.
Now, I'm no stranger to big fish and the Earn at that time had plenty, but this was something else.:eek::eek:
It just continued upstream, peeling line off the reel as if it was free spooling untill it reached the garden pool some 120 yards above me. By that time , so much drowned line, intense pressure and back came the devon with the hooks completely mangled.
We never saw that fish.:( My brother still talks about it to this day, how the veins were sticking out in my neck trying to turn it.
Anyway, next evening, I got a phone call from Ian Bennett who had just returned from fishing the next beat above the one I had been fishing.
"Tam", he said, "you're not going to believe this, but today, only a few feet from me, a huge fish nosed and tailed twice. It was enormous, easily 50lbs!!!" Ian had several big fish over 30lbs and a couple of 40s to his credit. He knew what he was seeing.
I, meanwhile, was on the floor in the fetal position, sobbing inconsolably.:(
Brilliant yet hard luck all the same
Must still be the odd big brute like that still entering the Tay in particular possibly the Earn.
 

Rennie

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As requested, a change of location!


Just a bit of Nith orientated memories getting us back on track.
When I (far too late) discovered Mid Nithsdale and fishing the Nith at the back end, I took a couple of blocks of 3 days fishing there staying at the George hotel, might have been late Oct. ish. Even then the river was dropping off alarmingly in terms of catches.Any way, I paid up and rocked up to thrash the water to a foam.
Back then it was long bellied Spey profiled full lines off my 16ft 9/10 Powerlite, way over gunned, but hey ho.
I loved the bit down at Red Broo's, Hedge End and Wee Porters. So one morning having fished through the above two pools I was just stood on the bank top at Wee Porters getting ready to jump in and flog the water.Right where it should a fish showed and it wasn't small!.So I wandered down for another look and to mark the spot, when blow me the fish showed again, a great big lump of silvery lumpiness with definitely "I'm a Grey Back" written all over it!.
Ran to the pool top, new cast of 18lb Maxima, 1" brass Willie G. tube on my Inty. line and started to work down towards the fish.Now usually, the story go's worked through the lay for no joy!.This time however, the casting went well and right where it should something obliged.
From the off, wasn't small, I knew that well enough.I was dishing out pasty aplenty, but making little ground and Salar ever so slowly dropped down stream a yd at a time.
Now the old hands will know, Wee Porter's was a restricted pool length wise as to when historically it was Porters, and I was being dragged ever more inevitably towards the beat March where a stream entered the river.
By now, I noticed I'd an audience on the opposite bank on what I took to be the beat below, a guy worming, he reeled in to watch.As I reached the stream, the last of my fly line slid out of the tip ring and the Dacron backing started to follow it.Having been playing the fish for a good while now, I thought I could exert my presence, and stop the carry on, turn the fish and get it in the net!.
No chance!, my backing continued to slide out the tip ring and it was decision time, so stealed my self and strode into the stream to follow the fish.
My audience at that point spoke up, reminded me of the fact I was about to enter another beat, that if I did, he would report me and was quite within his right to cast out at any point and maybe hook my line by accident.
I called back, I'd hooked this fish some way upstream- which he's seen- and was entitled to follow it.He spoke the same dialogue again and left me under no illusion that I wasn't to follow the fish..
So I dug the heels in, upped the brakes and still Salar dropped ever more slowly downstream.Eventually with 100yds of Dacron and 40yds of flyline out the hook pulled.
I'd a long wind in back and as I looked up the chap was on his toes off and away.It was my last day fishing and I was driving straight home on finishing fishing, or I'd have been most tempted to raise the issue further, wade the river and go chasing or at least ask back at the George whom I should be complaining to!.
Any way, lived n learned and all that, but seriously hope that guy's worms were dead every single time he ever went fishing after that!
Still wonder about that fish!
Pedro.
 
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Gauldalen

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The most memorable for me of these "lost" stonkers, was a fish hooked on the Neiden in Northern Norway! It was so powerful that the reel handle broke my right thumb under an extremely powerful rush, so powerful that the fish took all the line and backing, before leaving the river and re-entering the fjord to disappear for ever! We "dorged" for the line but..... That was the biggest salmon I ever encountered, maybe foolhooked, but still a "huge" fish, at least in my mind and for those who saw it (I never did!)! :cry:
 

MCXFisher

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I've told this one to the Forum before, so at the risk of repetition, here we go again.

In the late summer of 2011 I was fishing Frodle Dub in the Thoresby beat of the Ure, with a #8 Cascade on a plain fluorocarbon leader. At the tail of the fast water, right under the far bank, I hooked a very solid fish. It didn't show or do anything flashy, just going where it wanted like a rather athletic tractor in a low gear: completely unstoppable. Fortunately it showed no inclination to leave the pool. After about half an hour of dour struggle, it started to follow an oval pattern around the pool. After a while I noticed that with each repetition it was getting slightly closer to me. I then made a very silly decision based on what seemed like a cunning idea: I waded out to low thigh depth to intercept its progress with my net. So having extended and prepared my 24" Gye net I kept the strain on and waited. A while later it came round the curve straight at me, so I stuck the net out and achieved a perfect head on netting, and felt really pleased with myself.

Then I realised that I had created some real problems. First, the fish was head first in the net, but owing to its length - somewhere at or over 4 feet - its head was at the bottom of the mesh, but its centre of gravity was at the rim. Second, it was nowhere near fought out and massively strong. Third, I had my rod in my right hand and hold of the net with my left. Fourth, I was standing at a depth that left a lot of the fish still in the water, and therefore effectively weightless and agile. Fifth, this beautiful silver fish was seriously angry and desperate. And sixth and worst, I didn't have a clue what to do next.

Being an idiot, instead of abandoning my rod and using both arms on the fish, I gingerly raised the net just a little. The salmon went berserk. In a huge shower of spray it thrashed its way out of the net and headed off across the pool at speed. As it turned left, both sides of the #8 double straightened. On account of my stupidity I was more angry with myself than disconsolate.

A week later I caught a silver 23 pounder from the same pool, which was small in comparison. The Beast of Wensleydale I caught in 2015 was 42" long and 24" in girth, but a full 6-9 inches shorter than this fish. On that basis it could have been as much as 45 lbs, a once in 3 lifetimes fish.

The biggest lesson I drew was don't be clever: keep it simple, fight the fish out and just beach it, because netting a very big fish on your own isn't a workable option.
 
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G

GEK79

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Requested by Kingfisher to start a new thread, so I'll kick off my contribution from the annals of the River Earn,

In the 80s and 90s the Earn was famous for huge back end fish and it was a goto destination for anglers all over the Central belt.
At that time I was privileged to have access to Coqhualzie beat owned at the time by Frank Thomson who had an Ironmongers and sporting equipment shop in Crieff. I was introduced to Frank by a friend, Ian Bennett who was ABU rep and sold tackle to Frank, Ian also fished the beat.
One late September day myself and my brother were spinning in the deep holding pool above the weir. I was using my new 6001 LHW multiplier and a 23/4 inch metal brown / gold devon. At that time, most anglers either moulded aluminium devons themselves or knew someone who did. It was simply the most popular and successful bait on the Earn in highish water conditions.
Which it was that day, just over 2 feet of water and clean.
The pool has around 150 yards of fishable water upstream from the weir until you reach trees which are impossible to get beyond.
Standard practice was to spin or worm all the way down to the weir which I had done and threw a final cast before moving on.
The devon stopped mid stream. It was solid and immovable, So, thumb on spool and tension cranked up I walked backwards putting full on strain onto the 20lb Maxima. Something moved ever so slightly so I'm thinking that I had hooked a sunken branch.
So, wind up tight again and repeat. I repeated this 6 times, each time gaining a few inches but still none the wiser until the "branch" moved upstream a yard. My brother and I exchanged surprised looks and a "no, it couldn't be" kind of glance.
More pressure and up it moved again, a little further this time but settled back down into an immovable position.
Long story short, after 40 minutes of gaining inches, the fish got thoroughly pissed off and decided to head upstream in a slow and deliberate pace. I could do absolutely nothing about it and, as it approached the tree line, I cranked the tension up to maximum and bent solidly into it, trying my best to turn it.
Now, I'm no stranger to big fish and the Earn at that time had plenty, but this was something else.:eek::eek:
It just continued upstream, peeling line off the reel as if it was free spooling untill it reached the garden pool some 120 yards above me. By that time , so much drowned line, intense pressure and back came the devon with the hooks completely mangled.
We never saw that fish.:( My brother still talks about it to this day, how the veins were sticking out in my neck trying to turn it.
Anyway, next evening, I got a phone call from Ian Bennett who had just returned from fishing the next beat above the one I had been fishing.
"Tam", he said, "you're not going to believe this, but today, only a few feet from me, a huge fish nosed and tailed twice. It was enormous, easily 50lbs!!!" Ian had several big fish over 30lbs and a couple of 40s to his credit. He knew what he was seeing.
I, meanwhile, was on the floor in the fetal position, sobbing inconsolably.:(
Wowzer sounds fantastic and the fact it is still spoken about.. 👍👍
 

kingfisher

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Well draw a soft chair over, grab a dram and gather round.
My day began in late October about 4-5 years ago on the Cardrona beat and I started as usual in the Castlehaugh Cheek pool at the top of the beat and just below the pedestrian bridge that the golfers use to acces a few holes on the right bank.

Water was leaf strewn but clear and a nice height with the odd fish showing further down the pool.
Anyone that has fished it will know there is a grassy bit down where the trees commence on the Horsburgh side and it was at this exact spot my good mate Bill Cook saw a big fish show the day before when he was down.
Anyhow after tying on an 1” “reddish” tube fly commenced my way down the pool, only for my PQ to be interrupted by my mobile and Bill asking how I was doing.

Nowt yet Bill said I and as if on scripted Q, this big fish leaped straight up and out of the pool down in the afore mentioned spot.
There was a glare on the water and from afar couldn’t really get a great view of it size or colour wise. I said to Bill what had just shown and in his usual words of encouragement said: Go get him.
Well I have to admit I did kinda speed up on my way down and eventually got above where I thought was the hot spot.
After a few casts with my heart racing in anticipation, I hooked the bottom! Except, as you all by now will have guessed, it wasn’t the bottom as it took of at an alarming rate of knots. The banking beside me wasn't that high but high enough for me to strain my knee muscle trying to hold my rod up as I struggled up to the top.

The shooting head was long gone downstream as was my running line and now I was praying the backing which hadn’t seen daylight, would stand the strain.
I tried to clamp my screaming reel only for the handle to clout my pinkie which was bloody sore.
I decided to follow it down stream hobbling along, as once it had got around the bend into the Kirkstone (?) I’d never get it back up.
Eventually after a momentous fight I managed to turn it and it headed upstream and eventually thrashed opposite me on the far bank. I still hadn’t seen this, what was obviously a huge fish and with my gammy leg, black and blue pinkie, not forgetting my arm muscle nearly shot with the power of this thing, it started to tire.

Inch by inch I regained my running line then I could see my shooting head then as it entered my top eye I was thinking I should fully see it anytime now as I was 2-3 ft above the water. Then it surfaced and it was bloody huge! A big cock fish in its tartan autumn colours.
I then thought I’d better get into the water as there wasn’t anywhere to beach it so i thought if I got in beside it I could do a rugby tackle onto it if need be!
Just as I looked back to my quarry I could see my double, barely having a hold and ping out it came missing me as the tube flew past me as fast as my heart dropped like a stone.

I was gutted, dejected, angry and thoroughly exhausted.
I sat down, I had to if I’m honest and called Bill and recited what had just happened.
I’ll never forget that fight for as long as I’m alive as it had that affect on me. The awesome power of such a fish was incredible and I do hope it wasn’t as knackered as myself and found a few girls to recite his version of the fight he had with a guy on the banking.

Thank for taking the time to read down this far lol.
 

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GEK79

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As requested, a change of location!
Just a bit of Nith orientated memories getting us back on track.
When I (far too late) discovered Mid Nithsdale and fishing the Nith at the back end, I took a couple of blocks of 3 days fishing there staying at the George hotel, might have been late Oct. ish. Even then the river was dropping off alarmingly in terms of catches.Any way, I paid up and rocked up to thrash the water to a foam.
Back then it was long bellied Spey profiled full lines off my 16ft 9/10 Powerlite, way over gunned, but hey ho.
I loved the bit down at Red Broo's, Hedge End and Wee Porters. So one morning having fished through the above two pools I was just stood on the bank top at Wee Porters getting ready to jump in and flog the water.Right where it should a fish showed and it wasn't small!.So I wandered down for another look and to mark the spot, when blow me the fish showed again, a great big lump of silvery lumpiness with definitely "I'm a Grey Back" written all over it!.
Ran to the pool top, new cast of 18lb Maxima, 1" brass Willie G. tube on my Inty. line and started to work down towards the fish.Now usually, the story go's worked through the lay for no joy!.This time however, the casting went well and right where it should something obliged.
From the off, wasn't small, I knew that well enough.I was dishing out pasty aplenty, but making little ground and Salar ever so slowly dropped down stream a yd at a time.
Now the old hands will know, Wee Porter's was a restricted pool length wise as to when historically it was Porters, and I was being dragged ever more inevitably towards the beat March where a stream entered the river.
By now, I noticed I'd an audience on the opposite bank on what I took to be the beat below, a guy worming, he reeled in to watch.As I reached the stream, the last of my fly line slid out of the tip ring and the Dacron backing started to follow it.Having been playing the fish for a good while now, I thought I could exert my presence, and stop the carry on, turn the fish and get it in the net!.
No chance!, my backing continued to slide out the tip ring and it was decision time, so stealed my self and strode into the stream to follow the fish.
My audience at that point spoke up, reminded me of the fact I was about to enter another beat, that if I did, he would report me and was quite within his right to cast out at any point and maybe hook my line by accident.
I called back, I'd hooked this fish some way upstream- which he's seen- and was entitled to follow it.He spoke the same dialogue again and left me under no illusion that I wasn't to follow the fish..
So I dug the heels in, upped the brakes and still Salar dropped ever more slowly downstream.Eventually with 100yds of Dacron and 40yds of flyline out the hook pulled.
I'd a long wind in back and as I looked up the chap was on his toes off and away.It was my last day fishing and I was driving straight home on finishing fishing, or I'd have been most tempted to raise the issue further, wade the river and go chasing or at least ask back at the George whom I should be complaining to!.
Any way, lived n learned and all that, but seriously hope that guy's worms were dead every single time he ever went fishing after that!
Still wonder about that fish!
Pedro.
I didn't realise fishermen were that unsportly..sounds like a great day until then.
 

keirstream

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The biggest lesson I drew was don't be clever: keep it simple, fight the fish out and just beach it, because netting a very big fish on your own isn't a workable option.
A veritab;e monster Michael, hard lines indeed.
I actually find it difficult if not impossible to net any size of fish myself in running water.
I either beach them or bring them to hand.
 

keirstream

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I tried to clamp my screaming reel only for the handle to clout my pinkie which was bloody sore.


Thank for taking the time to read down this far lol.
Pleasure reading that Kenny, thank you. (y)
Edit; except for the conclusion. :(
Bit like Specsavers advert though.
You should have been using a Control.:D
 
G

GEK79

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Requested by Kingfisher to start a new thread, so I'll kick off my contribution from the annals of the River Earn,

In the 80s and 90s the Earn was famous for huge back end fish and it was a goto destination for anglers all over the Central belt.
At that time I was privileged to have access to Coqhualzie beat owned at the time by Frank Thomson who had an Ironmongers and sporting equipment shop in Crieff. I was introduced to Frank by a friend, Ian Bennett who was ABU rep and sold tackle to Frank, Ian also fished the beat.
One late September day myself and my brother were spinning in the deep holding pool above the weir. I was using my new 6001 LHW multiplier and a 23/4 inch metal brown / gold devon. At that time, most anglers either moulded aluminium devons themselves or knew someone who did. It was simply the most popular and successful bait on the Earn in highish water conditions.
Which it was that day, just over 2 feet of water and clean.
The pool has around 150 yards of fishable water upstream from the weir until you reach trees which are impossible to get beyond.
Standard practice was to spin or worm all the way down to the weir which I had done and threw a final cast before moving on.
The devon stopped mid stream. It was solid and immovable, So, thumb on spool and tension cranked up I walked backwards putting full on strain onto the 20lb Maxima. Something moved ever so slightly so I'm thinking that I had hooked a sunken branch.
So, wind up tight again and repeat. I repeated this 6 times, each time gaining a few inches but still none the wiser until the "branch" moved upstream a yard. My brother and I exchanged surprised looks and a "no, it couldn't be" kind of glance.
More pressure and up it moved again, a little further this time but settled back down into an immovable position.
Long story short, after 40 minutes of gaining inches, the fish got thoroughly pissed off and decided to head upstream in a slow and deliberate pace. I could do absolutely nothing about it and, as it approached the tree line, I cranked the tension up to maximum and bent solidly into it, trying my best to turn it.
Now, I'm no stranger to big fish and the Earn at that time had plenty, but this was something else.:eek::eek:
It just continued upstream, peeling line off the reel as if it was free spooling untill it reached the garden pool some 120 yards above me. By that time , so much drowned line, intense pressure and back came the devon with the hooks completely mangled.
We never saw that fish.:( My brother still talks about it to this day, how the veins were sticking out in my neck trying to turn it.
Anyway, next evening, I got a phone call from Ian Bennett who had just returned from fishing the next beat above the one I had been fishing.
"Tam", he said, "you're not going to believe this, but today, only a few feet from me, a huge fish nosed and tailed twice. It was enormous, easily 50lbs!!!" Ian had several big fish over 30lbs and a couple of 40s to his credit. He knew what he was seeing.
I, meanwhile, was on the floor in the fetal position, sobbing inconsolably.:(
I cannot compare here but last season I was on my little river with a 10ft 3w trout rod and reel fishing down into the big pool taking 6 inch trout.. Now I'd heard what I assume was a salmon leaoin but as I was around a slight bend hadn't seen it. I was using a small size 16 sedge of some sort cast into the pool to be taken like never before. Maybe I'd annoyed the salmon first my I crapled myself.. Then it began it took my 3 wt floater down to the back in really quickly I let it run until the big bend in the river where I applied the brakes.. I felt a twang and the fish was gone.. I don't think it was huge but on a 10dt 3w rod felt like a monster. Next season I'm going tk be more prepared.
Thanks for sharing. Great reading.
Gary
 

keirstream

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Thanks for the advice, but I will take the chance of sounding stupid BUT I must ask: what is a Control??? :unsure::unsure:
Kingfisher just asked me the same question G.
The Danielsson Control.
As you are probably aware, the handle does not turn when a fish takes line, hence no broken thumb.
Some monsters in Norway though,
Real tough luck. :(
 
G

GEK79

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Kingfisher just asked me the same question G.
The Danielsson Control.
As you are probably aware, the handle does not turn when a fish takes line, hence no broken thumb.
Some monsters in Norway though,
Real tough luck. :(
Thanks for the explanation.. Great design idea by Danielsson..
 

Loxie

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I've no great tales of lengthy battles but I've had the odd contact with big ones but the have never lasted long. I had a brief run in with a big fish on the Yokanga that seemed in a different class to what we were catching, (averaging 18lb). The biggest fish I've knowingly had hold of was in Norway. I spent a couple of seasons in my youth working as a ghillie on the Aa. My first season we had a big resident cock fish in the first pool down from the lake. He was there from at least late May and was still there, looking pretty brown, in late August at the end of the season. We packed up the lodge and I had an hour to kill so I went for a last cast. A size 8 red butt double on an inter, DT in those days, and uphe came, took the fly. I tightened in to him and he shook his head and the fly came out. Certainly over 40.
 

Gauldalen

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Kingfisher just asked me the same question G.
The Danielsson Control.
As you are probably aware, the handle does not turn when a fish takes line, hence no broken thumb.
Some monsters in Norway though,
Real tough luck. :(
Thanks for that, unfortunately I don’t think that the Danielsson «control» was on the market at that time! :LOL:
 

sneakypeter

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June this year, fishing a long pool on the Avon, the last 30 meters has an abrupt bend, with a few small willows right on top of the bank, they were 10feet away from the edge last year, big clay boulders lying in 8ft of water, then clean gravel. Working through this jungle, a fish rose behind my prawn as I tried to shake off some weed, and just melted away, big was my only thought. Below the willows is an open bank ending with a big willow bush , worked it through inch by inch, nothing until right under the bush, solid take, fish on. The fish just came upstream, mid water, past me and up to the jungle, turned went back to its spot under the willow and repeat, this was repeated several times over, I was giving it plenty, but made no impression on it, I could see it clearly, and it was big, a plan was formed to try and net it, not easy ,but possible, another downstream run ,turned, headshake and the hook popped out, the fish sat there for a second or two and just vanished. I was shaking, gutted, but to be able to watch the fish for every second of the scrap for a good ten minutes was some consolation at least, I have little doubt that fish was firstly very fresh, and not far off 4ft long. A 12lb fish 1st cast that day and an 18lb fish late on were a result but would have been nice to get a big one, one day !!!!
 

Andrew B

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Requested by Kingfisher to start a new thread, so I'll kick off my contribution from the annals of the River Earn,

In the 80s and 90s the Earn was famous for huge back end fish and it was a goto destination for anglers all over the Central belt.
At that time I was privileged to have access to Coqhualzie beat owned at the time by Frank Thomson who had an Ironmongers and sporting equipment shop in Crieff. I was introduced to Frank by a friend, Ian Bennett who was ABU rep and sold tackle to Frank, Ian also fished the beat.
One late September day myself and my brother were spinning in the deep holding pool above the weir. I was using my new 6001 LHW multiplier and a 23/4 inch metal brown / gold devon. At that time, most anglers either moulded aluminium devons themselves or knew someone who did. It was simply the most popular and successful bait on the Earn in highish water conditions.
Which it was that day, just over 2 feet of water and clean.
The pool has around 150 yards of fishable water upstream from the weir until you reach trees which are impossible to get beyond.
Standard practice was to spin or worm all the way down to the weir which I had done and threw a final cast before moving on.
The devon stopped mid stream. It was solid and immovable, So, thumb on spool and tension cranked up I walked backwards putting full on strain onto the 20lb Maxima. Something moved ever so slightly so I'm thinking that I had hooked a sunken branch.
So, wind up tight again and repeat. I repeated this 6 times, each time gaining a few inches but still none the wiser until the "branch" moved upstream a yard. My brother and I exchanged surprised looks and a "no, it couldn't be" kind of glance.
More pressure and up it moved again, a little further this time but settled back down into an immovable position.
Long story short, after 40 minutes of gaining inches, the fish got thoroughly pissed off and decided to head upstream in a slow and deliberate pace. I could do absolutely nothing about it and, as it approached the tree line, I cranked the tension up to maximum and bent solidly into it, trying my best to turn it.
Now, I'm no stranger to big fish and the Earn at that time had plenty, but this was something else.:eek::eek:
It just continued upstream, peeling line off the reel as if it was free spooling untill it reached the garden pool some 120 yards above me. By that time , so much drowned line, intense pressure and back came the devon with the hooks completely mangled.
We never saw that fish.:( My brother still talks about it to this day, how the veins were sticking out in my neck trying to turn it.
Anyway, next evening, I got a phone call from Ian Bennett who had just returned from fishing the next beat above the one I had been fishing.
"Tam", he said, "you're not going to believe this, but today, only a few feet from me, a huge fish nosed and tailed twice. It was enormous, easily 50lbs!!!" Ian had several big fish over 30lbs and a couple of 40s to his credit. He knew what he was seeing.
I, meanwhile, was on the floor in the fetal position, sobbing inconsolably.:(
Lol it was my fault for derailing the Nith thread over your avatar so apologies for that.
Given you’re no stranger to fish over 30lbs and using a heavy spinning gear I can well believe 50lbs esp if the Earn was known for those type fish.
Mikael Frodin always cracks me up. No stranger to big fish himself and fishing the best of Russia and Norway he doesn’t just talk of possible 40s but 60-70lbers and who are we to dispute this as he points out that these fish are hooked but very rarely do they get landed?
 

budge

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What was possibly my first ever encounter with a salmon happened many moons ago when I was 11 or 12 years old. My uncle who had moved to South Wales had sorted out some coarse fishing on a top salmon beat on the Wye on the condition that all coarse fish were removed, no maggots allowed and any game fish had to be returned unharmed. Off we went my dad, uncle and a very excited me armed with a bucket of worms, some bread and cheese paste.
The coarse fish weren't very obliging but we soon discovered a worm on a ledger chucked over into a gully and allowed to bounce slowly downstream got loads of bites from trout. At dinner time my dad and uncle left me in charge whilst they wandered down to the nearest pub under strict instructions not to touch their gear and not to let the keeper see the hidden trout . Once they had disappeared I decided to make use of my dad's pride and joy built cane Avon rod which was a step up from my 7 foot fibreglass spinning rod.
After a visit from the keeper to see how we were getting on (checking what we were up to) I removed the untouched cheese paste and put another worm on. First trundle through and tap-tap-tap, strike and bottom hooked, only it started to move slowly upstream. Whatever it was just swam slowly up and down the pool, I couldn't gain an inch of line so just hung on. After about half an hour of this my dad and uncle reappeared to my horror. The beer must have mellowed dad though he was more excited about my fish than worrying about his best rod.
After loads of advice and encouragement from them both nothing changed, the fish just swimming slowly upstream 30 yards and holding for a minute then moving 30 yards back to its original spot. My arms were aching now so I gave the rod to dad whilst I had a rest. He couldn't shift it either and spent the next 20 minutes getting nowhere.
He then decided to clamp the spool and heave which resulted in a loud crack as the top section of his rod broke quickly followed by the line parting as the fish charged off upstream.
There was just silence as I tried my best not to cry. It may not have been a monster of a fish but it was to me and was on for well over an hour.
Dad never mentioned it again but also didn't mention that I borrowed his rod

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Andrew B

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I got invited to the Don by a great guy who knew Megan Boyd and wasn’t prone to exaggerate.
I don’t remember much of the details but he said he hooked a fish up near Alford? Sometime in the 80s and after over an hour spent playing it, it was lost at the net. The thing I remember most is he wouldn’t even guess it’s size but he said it’s eyes were like two pence pieces lol😳
 

Andrew B

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What was possibly my first ever encounter with a salmon happened many moons ago when I was 11 or 12 years old. My uncle who had moved to South Wales had sorted out some coarse fishing on a top salmon beat on the Wye on the condition that all coarse fish were removed, no maggots allowed and any game fish had to be returned unharmed. Off we went my dad, uncle and a very excited me armed with a bucket of worms, some bread and cheese paste.
The coarse fish weren't very obliging but we soon discovered a worm on a ledger chucked over into a gully and allowed to bounce slowly downstream got loads of bites from trout. At dinner time my dad and uncle left me in charge whilst they wandered down to the nearest pub under strict instructions not to touch their gear and not to let the keeper see the hidden trout . Once they had disappeared I decided to make use of my dad's pride and joy built cane Avon rod which was a step up from my 7 foot fibreglass spinning rod.
After a visit from the keeper to see how we were getting on (checking what we were up to) I removed the untouched cheese paste and put another worm on. First trundle through and tap-tap-tap, strike and bottom hooked, only it started to move slowly upstream. Whatever it was just swam slowly up and down the pool, I couldn't gain an inch of line so just hung on. After about half an hour of this my dad and uncle reappeared to my horror. The beer must have mellowed dad though he was more excited about my fish than worrying about his best rod.
After loads of advice and encouragement from them both nothing changed, the fish just swimming slowly upstream 30 yards and holding for a minute then moving 30 yards back to its original spot. My arms were aching now so I gave the rod to dad whilst I had a rest. He couldn't shift it either and spent the next 20 minutes getting nowhere.
He then decided to clamp the spool and heave which resulted in a loud crack as the top section of his rod broke quickly followed by the line parting as the fish charged off upstream.
There was just silence as I tried my best not to cry. It may not have been a monster of a fish but it was to me and was on for well over an hour.
Dad never mentioned it again but also didn't mention that I borrowed his rod

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On the Wye, you kidding me? That river is famed for large salmon and still to this day has fish in the thirties turning up.
 

MCXFisher

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Lost a big fish last year... certainly my biggest in Ireland (lost bigger in Norway) but by Irish standards this was a biggie.. just started to get him under control and was nearly at my feet when snagged me up! 😭

Andrew,

I've said it before, but the handles on that Loop Classic are really lethal weapons in that scenario! And no way of getting at the rim without losing a thumb first?
 
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