The Big Fish That Got Away Stories

Loxie

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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?
It's also one of the reasons I prefer RHW as I can use my right hand fingers to brake the spool rather than have the spool break my fingers!
 

Mickfish

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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?

Could not agree more. Two years ago I was fishing the confluence between the Eamont and Eden with a friend's rod and Loop Classic reel. I hooked a fish and it went on a few runs. I'd never fished with this reel before and it hammered my fingers and thumb so much so that I had to take two inbuprofen to begin fishing again. Thankully I landed the fish - a modest 12lber. A beautiful reel to be sure but I'm not in a hurry to fish with one again.

Mick
 

easky

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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?
It was more the line burn that hurt Mike.. first the running line and then the gel spun for good measure! 😭. With the Classic the rim is actually hidden on both sides so you can't physically palm it but I think instinct just kicked in as I tried to slow it down as it was headed round a slight bend and towards overhanging trees. In hindsight I should have used the brake but in the heat of the battle didn't and I don't normally like 'fluttering around' with the drag when playing a fish. I have caught literally 000's of fish with that reel and that has only happened twice.. both times with big fish.. what is it I think you once said/blogged about 'expect the unexpected'! 😃
 

tony considine

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In the 70s/80s we sometimes fished the Nith. We were fishing one day at Dalswinton when word came down the river that someone had lost a huge fish. He was fishing from a wall above the water. No-one had a net big enough and they couldn't beach it. One of the audience was sent home on his bicycle to get a gaff. The gaff duly arrived, fish gaffed and hauled up the wall. The gaff broke and the line too as the fish fell.
Several of the audience had caught 30lb fish and they all reckoned that fish was over 50lb. Their faces and the language must have been something else.
About fifteen years back, I lost a very big March fish at Rothes on the Spey. I thought I was stuck on the bottom for a while and was pulling for a break. I was close to breaking my 18lb leader when there was just one bump from the other end. I got below the fish and got it moving. At no point was it particularly interested in the fact that it was hooked. It cruised the pool at slow walking pace for about twenty minutes and eventually pulled off when it changed direction. I saw it once when I pulled it close to the surface as it passed me. I would have said it was easily four feet long.
I just sat on the bank and shook my head, almost in disbelief. I didn't fish again till after lunch.
t.c.
 

kingfisher

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In the 70s/80s we sometimes fished the Nith. We were fishing one day at Dalswinton when word came down the river that someone had lost a huge fish. He was fishing from a wall above the water. No-one had a net big enough and they couldn't beach it. One of the audience was sent home on his bicycle to get a gaff. The gaff duly arrived, fish gaffed and hauled up the wall. The gaff broke and the line too as the fish fell.
Several of the audience had caught 30lb fish and they all reckoned that fish was over 50lb. Their faces and the language must have been something else.
About fifteen years back, I lost a very big March fish at Rothes on the Spey. I thought I was stuck on the bottom for a while and was pulling for a break. I was close to breaking my 18lb leader when there was just one bump from the other end. I got below the fish and got it moving. At no point was it particularly interested in the fact that it was hooked. It cruised the pool at slow walking pace for about twenty minutes and eventually pulled off when it changed direction. I saw it once when I pulled it close to the surface as it passed me. I would have said it was easily four feet long.
I just sat on the bank and shook my head, almost in disbelief. I didn't fish again till after lunch.
t.c.
I know the feeling Tony.
Hard luck
 

Cyclops

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Lost a few mid twenties in my time (I think) but nothing huge. I’m praying that when my chance eventually comes, and that’s what we are all waiting for that one special moment, I’ll land the fish of my lifetime.

Great stories though from all, fantastic reading and better than T&S
 

kingfisher

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There is a common theme here, in that all these stories involves rivers with a history of big fish.
Yes but I have never considered the Spey as a Big fish river. Not saying there isn’t big fish in it of course but I associate the Tay, Tweed, Awe and the Deveron with big fish captures over the years.
All rivers are able to throw up the odd huge fish but generally most won’t on a regular basis.
The River Forss had a huge fish of well over 45lb (think it may have been 47?) not a million years ago and you could leap across some bits of this little highland River.
 

tony considine

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We fished all the border rivers in the eighties. We often fished the Annan at Hoddom, Cleughhead and I had a rod on Newbie.
Fishing on the Goat pool at Hoddom, I hooked a fish by the willows on the far bank,(plenty will know it.)
It did the usual big fish procedure, cruised to the top of the pool, turned and cruised to the bottom, with me following on the bank on a fairly short line. This was repeated several times until it pulled off when it turned the opposite way. I couldn't get it up to have a look at it, so it was just another one that got away.
The next week, I took a mate, a trout fisher who had never caught a salmon. I lent him a rod. Fishing the Goat pool again, I hooked a good fish, silver, mid-twenties, which nearly beached itself on the shallows early in the fight.. My mate ran out with the net. I told him to get out of the water and not touch the net till I told him. Just after that it came off. I remember the conversation.........'Terry, that was a big fish!!! ......You reckon?.....I know!!!'
Later in the day, he caught a 12lb silver fish, which was excellent. He was obviously so pleased.
As we were packing up, with his fish lying by the car, he said.....'I don't want to upset you, but this fish is like a minnow compared to the one you lost.' As I'd said earlier, 'I know!'
t.c.
 

PWH2016

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I cannot get over the miserable a**e in Rennie's story!

My story is not so much about a big fish but about a little boy fishing the River Carron, at Glencarron, Wester Ross in the mid 90s. I was 9 and my brother 12. Neither of us had ever seen a salmon, let alone caught one and they were rarer than hen's teeth in the Carron in those days.

We'd been left on our own at the river to fish and walk back to the lodge. To cut a long story short, I hooked a lovely fresh fish on a worm which led me a merry dance for 15 minutes until my arm ached. Eventually, my knot (tied in a frightful hurry, on cheap line and by inexperienced fingers) came loose and the fish slipped back into the depths. We both fell back into the heather, speechless.

It was a very big fish by the time we got back to the lodge and told everyone about it. 27 years later, I'm still completely haunted by that fish!
 

Occasional salmon fisher

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Not that big a fish but the lost fish that I remember the most. I was fishing with my brother on a salmon river, I think I was 9. My biggest fish up to that point was probably a trout of under 1 lbs.

Anyway, I hooked a salmon that proceeded to run upstream leaping out of the water several times then turned downstream and continued to jump. On about the eighth jump it landed on the line which was by now very tight and the line snapped !

We reckon somewhere over 15 lbs but not 20 lbs but as good as a 40 lber to a 9 year old !

I can still picture that crazy leaping fish now !

Edit - just noticed PWH2016 s post above, amazingly similar experience !!
 
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Andrew B

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Oh I can well believe about the nasty piece of work in Rennies story.
I have my own story on one of the best pools on the river Dart for Sea Trout.
The pool is split into two parts, one being a ledge that you can wade on that drops off into deep water and 20yrd down another angler can cover the large tail of the pool.
As I was sat there waiting for the dark another angler turned up and I put it to him that between us we could swap over after half hour?
He kind of agreed and he took the tail first and immediately had two fish. After nearly an hour when I saw him changing flies back on the bench I put it to him if we could swap round which was in club rules? He was having none of it so I went back to the ledge and I had immediately hooked a big sea trout that I played for a while and came off.
The very next cast I caught my biggest fly caught sea trout of nine n half pounds and after finally netting I noticed the bloke had gone off sulking.
Apparently that night in my sleep the Mrs said I hollered out the words “ if you can’t say hello, can you move down to the next acropolis”.
 

Bob Mc

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Oh Must have been about 20 years ago I was fishing the Earn, on the Milton Pool just below Comrie, for sea trout the sun had set I had only made a few casts to get the length of line sorted for fishing in the dark when a fish took my fly one of the gentlest takes I can ever remember it just stoped then moved across the pool and sulked for a bit.
I was only fishing 8 maybe 6 lb leader so couldn't exert much pressure on the fish but after a time, 10 mins or so it decided to cruise the pool, up then down, back up then down, then it must have got board and decided to head for Dundee I locked the real which broke the leader, never even seen the fish.
I'm a reasonable experienced angler and in the past have landed Salmon to 14/15 lb on sea trout tackle but this fish was big i couldn't even slow it down
 

rotenone

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The biggest fish I lost was on the Kola River in 2017, a river known to produce huge salmon . I hooked the fish below the tail end of the Cemetery rapidis in a back eddy. I was using an LTS powersink 15 foot and 50lb mono leader. I had no way of following it down the rapids the river was massive 2 metres up from the late ice melt, I managed to some how hold the fish for about 40 mins, the rod rod was doubled the whole fight.

I made no significant gain of line during play, the fish was not explosive just sheer weight , eventually it ran my fly line round a tree I was playing the tree, the current and what had to be a 20kg plus fish after 10 mins i got the dreaded slack, the leader had held but the hook gave way 2 points were straightened one broke.

2 days later I walked down to the same pool with the guide on the way down we met a local poacher , he was carrying a broken spinning rod and and a reel empty of line. He was highly animated in discussion with my guide, when I asked what happened the guide explained the poacher had played a fish for 2 hours with a broken rod in play eventually it had emptied his reel.

If you know the Kola the locals are not fishing for sport most using sea reels loaded with 60lb line, those giants still exist on the river Kola this year I know of 2 40lb plus fish caugh in May by the same anglers.
 

Mattytree

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Couple of seasons back I had kind of figured out a big fish lie , I had hooked one large fish I reconed to be mid twenties and it broke me out on a ledge so next big dropping spate I went in with a heavy fly to hang in the hole I thought they would be in ,some £30lb floro just to make sure and first swing just over the hole mended some line to get it down and try and let it hang then gave it a bit of movement before letting the fly finish its swing and bang ! Fish On !! it kind of came towards about a metre but maybe after realised it was hooked, came up to the surface and turned back down stream and with a wave of its tail that was the largest I’ve seen on the north Tyne was gone... I wound in to this... sat on the bank in disbelief trying to work out what I had done wrong and smoked a tab , 20 mins later with a new treble on again first swing through I hooked and landed a fish just under 20 my new PB so wasn’t to disappointed but looking at its tail it was hard not to try feel disappointed that the first fish was easily double the size.
Sadly next big spate the whole pool changed again and the hole filled in.
 

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keirstream

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Another one just to keep the thread going.
I think 2017, late April fishing the south bank of Pegs Leg on the Tummel.
Skagit, 15ft sink 6 and cascade conehead.
Worked sown through the swirly water at the neck of the pool to the bit just where the line starts to swing perfectly in the even current.
Tummel fishers now exactly where I mean.
The line stops mid stream, a few nods and a real dour fight ensues lasting some 20 minutes during which time I never saw the skagit head, never mind the fish. Well, when I'm fishing deep in the spring I don't mess about with leader strength. It's not going to break on a fish I can assure you all.
The fish just cruised up and down the deep water and never responded to whatever pressure I put on it and I gave it plenty.
I had plenty of time so I wasn't in the least concerned and just kept on giving it plenty, it had to tire sometime.
A snag, boulder or log, put paid to that notion.
Gone, but not forgotten.:(
 

sneakypeter

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This thread just sums up one of the best bits about salmon fishing for me, that unknown factor, big fish can, and have turned up on most rivers, from small to big waters, not often encountered on rod and line, but just occasionally one slips up, The Avon has a decent record of big fish, they are still running the river, rarely hooked, but every now and then someone gets lucky, adds a special element to every cast, the anticipation of a take and just what could be on the other end of your line makes it a very special place to fish, February 1st, bring it on!
 

mows

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I've told this one before.
I haven't caught any really big fish
Biggest is a 25lber in a spate on burn house.
A 19.5lb springer
And a good few decent doubles.
So know what a reasonable fish is like.
Anyway, one summer's night about 10 years ago I went down for an evening's cast at big gannochy.
Dangerous Dave from the cottage was already there having a cast for seatrout.
There were fish moving, but not much happening.
I was fishing a small size 12 sparse shrimp fly and a wee black spider for the seatrout.
I did have 15lb maxima leader as it was all I had in my pocket.
There was a seatrout circling the pool and regularly rising 20 feet out from me in the eddy
I cast out and left my flies lying there.
I was busy chatting to Dave and at one point my line moved 5 inches, but stopped before I did anything.
Anyway we chatted for another 5 minutes and then I decided to start fishing again.
Turned out my fly was stuck on the bottom.
I tried to get it loose but no joy.
In the end, I wound in tight and pulled to break the line.
Just as I was about breaking point, I thought I felt a pull.
I pulled again and there was definite movement.
I turned to look at Dave and my reel just took off as this fish went to the tail of the pool in a couple of seconds.
I had a bit of drag on, but it was irrelevant.
I never knew a salmon could swim so fast.
Then it all went slack.
I turned to Dave and said, I have no idea what that was, but it was big!!
I wound in dejectedly, and as I got nearly all my line in, it turned out that I was stuck in the same spot!
Pulled again and the same thing happened, fish shot to the end of the pool and straight back to its lie.
The line was literally singing in the water due to the speed.
I can't remember how many times this happened, but I played the fish for about 20 minutes without ever seeing it or having any say on it.
After 20 minutes it decided it had enough and just slowly swam up stream out of the pool and through the rapids above.
I couldn't follow and when I was running out of line I held it a wee bit harder, but knowing how small my flee was.
Eventually it went slack and after winding in more than a 100 yards of line, there was my wee shrimp with a straight hook.

It was a great experience seeing just what a big fish can do, but it still haunts me yet.
 
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kingfisher

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Hard lines Alan. We don’t know or see a fraction of the fish running our rivers and to hook into something as obviously huge as that is memorable to say the least.
More so when it got past the Pert boys lol!!
 

Andrew B

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The biggest fish I lost was on the Kola River in 2017, a river known to produce huge salmon . I hooked the fish below the tail end of the Cemetery rapidis in a back eddy. I was using an LTS powersink 15 foot and 50lb mono leader. I had no way of following it down the rapids the river was massive 2 metres up from the late ice melt, I managed to some how hold the fish for about 40 mins, the rod rod was doubled the whole fight.

I made no significant gain of line during play, the fish was not explosive just sheer weight , eventually it ran my fly line round a tree I was playing the tree, the current and what had to be a 20kg plus fish after 10 mins i got the dreaded slack, the leader had held but the hook gave way 2 points were straightened one broke.

2 days later I walked down to the same pool with the guide on the way down we met a local poacher , he was carrying a broken spinning rod and and a reel empty of line. He was highly animated in discussion with my guide, when I asked what happened the guide explained the poacher had played a fish for 2 hours with a broken rod in play eventually it had emptied his reel.

If you know the Kola the locals are not fishing for sport most using sea reels loaded with 60lb line, those giants still exist on the river Kola this year I know of 2 40lb plus fish caugh in May by the same anglers.
That’s why Frodin cracks me up. He doesn’t talk of the 30/40lb fish on these particular rivers he goes full on about 60s and even 70lb fish cause he knows they’re about albeit rarely does anyone get em in?
 

rotenone

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That’s why Frodin cracks me up. He doesn’t talk of the 30/40lb fish on these particular rivers he goes full on about 60s and even 70lb fish cause he knows they’re about albeit rarely does anyone get em in?
I heard of a local landing a 30kg on the Kola on a spinner a few years back, i believe in control net( so called scinticfic study) there was 2 50lb plus fish caught in it early June, There was little or no decent run last year some very big fish came in May then virtually no run ,but the big fish were there again this June . On my pattern the thunder Monkey a guide landed a 35lb plus fish
 

rotenone

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That’s why Frodin cracks me up. He doesn’t talk of the 30/40lb fish on these particular rivers he goes full on about 60s and even 70lb fish cause he knows they’re about albeit rarely does anyone get em in?
I have seen this size and quality of fish turn up, unfortunately unless you want to pay big money the Kola is a bit of a mess right now, All of the resonable priced fishing has been taken by the private olenya lodge, basically bought all the license up so the other camps can only get the scraps, I feel a bit jard done by paying 3 x the money to fish the same water I did for 1800 euros.
I am lucky I know one or 2 places on kola 1 and 2 that are suitable for fly fishing fishing and where you can some peace from the combat fishing.. all the fish must run past k1 and 2 if you know where to go and who to aso theres a chance of 40lb fish for a 20 euros ticket
 

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Cookie-boy

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Yes but I have never considered the Spey as a Big fish river. Not saying there isn’t big fish in it of course but I associate the Tay, Tweed, Awe and the Deveron with big fish captures over the years.
All rivers are able to throw up the odd huge fish but generally most won’t on a regular basis.
The River Forss had a huge fish of well over 45lb (think it may have been 47?) not a million years ago and you could leap across some bits of this little highland River.
I remember two forty pounders being netted at Tomintoul when they were taking fish for the hatchery about 35 years ago.
 

Andrew B

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I heard of a local landing a 30kg on the Kola on a spinner a few years back, i believe in control net( so called scinticfic study) there was 2 50lb plus fish caught in it early June, There was little or no decent run last year some very big fish came in May then virtually no run ,but the big fish were there again this June . On my pattern the thunder Monkey a guide landed a 35lb plus fish
Wow that’s something to think about? I wonder how many years at sea it takes to reach this size? Unlike the U.K. these fish probably don’t have too far to travel to their feeding grounds.
 
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