The one that got away !

Timmins

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After reading the posts the biggest fish you’ve ever seen here goes !
i was on the lower tummel and for those of you that know the beat I started in the killiechangie run . After about 5/6 casts I’m on ! Yes what a start to the day the fish stayed deep on the far bank after about 10 min I see the auld yin coming up the beat ( for **** sake I’ve no even had a cast yet and your in .... is it a good fish ?) just then the fish changed it’s mind and thought I don’t like this I’m heading back to Perth ... reel screaming and well into the backing scrambled down into the rock pool with a slack line auld yin (is it still on?) reeling like mad (I don’t know!) then as the line started to tighten felt the bump bump (aye it’s still oan ) another 15/20 min went past and I heard those encouraging words ( It’s starting to tire your getting the better of it now i can see it. It looks well hooked ....🙈🙈🙈)standing on the gravel shelf the auld yin starts rolling up the sleeves (try and walk back and lift him up ) then the fish rolled on top of the water I couldn’t quite see it as I was on the bank . Shoulder deep he reached in and shouted I’ve got it!!! No I’ve no .... the fish then shot away back into the heavy water and just couldn’t turn it in the tail of the rock . A well down into the Greenbank we go then . Still tight and into backing again I’m on the steep gravel bank Below the fishing hut and the fish is slowly coming back auld yin ( canny have much left now get up onto the grass bank and try and walk it down a bit into the slacker water) half way down the pool I’m on the high bank fish in close I can see it . It’s a beast !!!! (Get it’s head up and we will get it this time ) with that wee bit added pressure to get his head up and oan the high bank felt the hook slip then one shake of the head and off after about 50min aghhhhh! Sat oan the high bank the auld yin clambers up the shingle pats me oan the back and says that was you’re thirty pounder miby even a forty and walks off back up the beat
 

Rennie

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Fishing Muirtons on Tay and down at the Pump House as the water was too high for the Grain, so out with the spinning rod, big fibber and floating devons.
Any way, it was a big day that day, a load of fish caught, even I had 5 to high teens!.
Come tea time, I was the last one left(every one else had gone home with more fish than they could carry!) and I was fishing the pool out alone.I launched my devon out under the big Oak tree on the opposite side, as I was wading very deep and was a long way in .I felt the U.L.B. bumping over the river bed and every thing tightened up and wallop,I was in!.Salar slowly but surely edged out and away from me, but I wasn't worried, I'd lots of 18lb Maxima on the Abu 6000, but after it had run a bit I started tightening the drag up..It made not the slightest bit of difference.Salar just ambled along and steadily away from me, no drama just a steady unrelenting unstoppable force.Being well out and wader top in(almost), I kept tweaking the drag up and kept telling myself it'd stop n turn soon.But it never did!, it was just constant, steady and away from me all the time, no drama, no rush, it just went!.
Eventually every thing fell slack and I'd the long wind back of failure and dreams of "what if?".
I got the wooden devon into my hand and the back end of it was chewed and crushed almost flat.The size 4 terrible was chewed,flat,bent,misshapen and useless for any further use.
I never at any time got the impression that fish felt threatened or alarmed, it just went about its upstream journey with a minor irritation in its jaw.
At 1st I honestly thought I'd hooked a seal, such was the unstoppable force, but after looking at the devon and hook, that was in the mouth of a fish and was chewed into oblivion!
I still dream about that fish and would love to know what I'd hooked even if just to answer my own curiosity(er yeah, right, I wanted to land the bloody thing!), but dreaming on, maybe one day!
Pedro.
 

The flying Scotsman

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Mines was last season on the fishponds the Tay.
It was harling and purely down Iain the Ghillies expertise. Rod went and it was my turn straight away I knew it was big just from the pressure. Unfortunately it was on a spinning rod but it still gave me a tremendous fight I thought this has got to be 20lb. After 30 mins and having it to the net twice it thrashed it’s head and spat the hook. Iain said it wasn’t quite 20lb but estimated it at 19lb. I wasn’t too upset as I had the best out of it and it’s not like I had worked my way down a pool with my fly rod and truly worked for it. Would of been nice to get a pic tho.
I did manage to loose 3 Tay springers in a row on the fly season before last. Devastating. Questioning everything
Biggest I’ve landed was around 14lb last season.
 
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Well known American writer John Gierach noted that the fish you will remember most vividly all your life will not be the largest or most challenging fish you have landed but one that got away. I'd agree with Mr Gierach. The images of three fish I lost at the net while at school are burned irrevocably on my memory. I can recall those loses more vividily today, 40 years later, than I can picture even quite large salmon I have since successfully landed.

I have landed fish to 29lbs in the Uk and larger in Norway. What I've noted is that once a fish is above quarter of a hunderweight (I know that is strictly 112lbs but you know what I mean) you simply know its a big fish becasue you can feel the weight of it through the rod. I've also noted fish that are in that size range tend not to go on surging runs but like to play a war of attrition with the angler. Returning to the topic in hand, two that got away that I remember most vividily as I am sure both were thirty pound + fish which are becoming commoner in the UK but are still not common.

Fish No 1: 5 November 1986 - Rough Hough Upper Watsonian River Tweed

I'd arrived at dawn (about 7 am at that time of year). The river was at the perfect height haven fallen to 1' 6" at Peebles. On my first run down to the Stone (one of the most classic lies on the Upper Tweed form both sides) in the main Rough Hough I hooked a fish about three quarters of the way across. I waded to the bank. For ten minutes it quietly swam up and down the top 75 meters of the pool. All I could feel was the weight of the fish solid, heavy, un responsive. It clearly wasn't foul hooked as I could feel the head shake. There didn't seem to be much I could do about it at that point even with a lot of creatvity. Then after ten minutes the hook came out. There was no drama about it. The hold gave and I was left with a lifetime of what ifs. Later that day I was fortunate to land 6 other salmon to 18lbs and none of them came even close to what that lost fish felt like. I have no proof, but the truth is with enough experience you just gain an instinct.

Fish No 2: 29 November 2005 [rumpy] Pumpinghouse Pool - Upper Floors River Tweed

This one is slightly easier to quantify. Immediately before hooking the lost fish I landed this one. It wasn't weighed as I was alone, but the rod is a 16' Euro and the bottom section is 48 inches long. 38 inches for a fat Tweed fish is generally deemed just over 20lbs and that fish will be there or there abouts. Anyway, regardless of that I 'd think we'd all agree it is not a grilse.

20lbs Upper Floors Nov 05.jpg

Litterally three casts after landing and returning that fish I hooked another. This fish was much bigger, again I could feel it and I'd litterally just finished playing a very good sized salmon. At that prevailing height and with the light failing rapidly I lost sight of the end of the pool and the fast stream leading down to Huddles. The fish was jagging slowly down the pool. I couldn't quite make out the far bank, and suddenly the fish began to take line at a greater speed and I realised to my horror it had gone over the tail of the pool. Any chance of breaking that fish to a halt had gone and I realised I'd have to follow it through the fast stream in what was now the dark. I have to say that was the most hair rasing wade of my life, but I could feel the fish and it was still taking line so I kept stumbling on. I was just about to reach the safety of the Huddles bank when the line went slack. I wound in nearly 150 yards of backing and the line. Strangely, my first thought was not I've lost a very big fish but thank f*@k I didn't drown and am still alive. It was only walking back to my car that I started cursing myself for losing my bearings and letting the fish go over the edge without a last ditched effort to stop it.

The difference between the two was there was nothing I could have done about the first, but I like to beleive I could have done something more to land the second. Anyway, in the final analysis that's why it is called Salmon Fishing and not Salmon Catching.

As a final throw away line, the lost fish that haunts me the most is neither of the above. No that goes back to August 1973 when as a 5 year old on his last day of holiday with cousins in a remote Perthshire cottage I was desperately trying to catch a trout for my late Granny to eat. So worming away in a Tullimet burn pool I suspected held a leviathan in the 8 inch range I duly hooked it. It jumped three times and threw the hook. I just stood there shaken and distraught; and still am. If only that was all we had to worry about causing piscatorial heartbreak once we get a little older......:D

Regards

NHP
 
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salarchaser

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The most memorable loss probably wasnt the biggest I've hooked (I've returned two at 37.5 inches, the first was a hen much deeper than the second, a cock fish).
Posted this before.
I was fishing half a mile up the river elan, a wye tributary 100 miles off the tide. Using an eight and a half foot #4, 3lb nylon and a team of 3 size 12 and 14 spiders. In a known lie for good grayling (2lb +), the line tightened. The fish didn't move, so i got up on the bank and walked down to the fish which drifted out to the far bank. 4 or 5 times the salmon came back to my bank then drifted slowly away to the far bank. Eventually it decided it was time to go back to sea. The elan is regulated by dams and in july is never high. The pool below the run I was fishing is 10 - 12 yards wide, 2 feet deep in general and 70 yards long with beech and birch overhanging the pool. As the small reel emptied, i set off in pursuit down the middle of the pool. I went down a couple times, once facing upstream when water poured into the top of the waders.
Eventually with the flyline and the same amount of backing out it simply came off as it ran out of the pool. Reeled in to find all 3 flies present.
I've had grayling to 19.5 inches and browns up to 27 inches on the upper wye, but this was something much, much bigger.
 

Gauldalen

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The most memorable 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!)!
G.
 

Neil W

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Mine was a sea trout in Argentina on the Rio Grande. It was my second trip there and I had a tough first trip not really catching any decent sized fish. The Lodge was Villa Maria in 2012, the first evening you arrive you get a warm up session until about 9pm before dinner, it’s not a full session but a taster.
I was fishing with an American guide when my black articulated leech was hit good and hard by an aggressive fish 4 casts in at a pool called Sweet. It was clearly a huge fish which jumped clean out of the water 5 times and had the most powerful head shakes of any fish I have ever played. Eventually the fish calmed down and seemed beaten. It was on its side as I drew it towards the massive awaiting net. It was about 3ft from the net when from no where it lunged upwards about 18 inches and the hook popped out. Sean the guide made a lunge but the fish was gone. We sat down on the bank, me with the shakes. He looked at me gave me a high 5 and said in his America drawl, that was a f***king hippo. He later said he was convinced it was plus 30lb of very fresh sea trout. I was gutted to say the least but caught a 16lb fish 30mins later.
 

Aled

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Sea Trout here as well: This fish was memorable as to how it was lost. Night Fishing in 1995, I knew of a good holding spot under some overhanging trees, square cast slightly upstream of branches upstream mend, slow figure of eight...bang fish on, a good sea trout in the 10-12lb bracket, fish jumped so high it hit the branches of the overhanging tree, leaving my leader behind, and the fish free to continue its journey upstream! I cursed a bit, laughed, and wished it good luck!
Cheers
Aled
 

Neil W

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Clever fish

Sea Trout here as well: This fish was memorable as to how it was lost. Night Fishing in 1995, I knew of a good holding spot under some overhanging trees, square cast slightly upstream of branches upstream mend, slow figure of eight...bang fish on, a good sea trout in the 10-12lb bracket, fish jumped so high it hit the branches of the overhanging tree, leaving my leader behind, and the fish free to continue its journey upstream! I cursed a bit, laughed, and wished it good luck!
Cheers
Aled
 

sneakypeter

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Oh those painful memories, mine was on the Avon, late April, perfect conditions, fishing down a fast bend, mate Paul alongside, got to the point where the river deepened slightly and straightened, mate said next cast and your on the spot, sure enough, cast goes out, fly swings, he said, just about there and wallop, switch rod nearly ripped from my hand. A couple of big headshakes and the fish took off downstream, only 10mtrs or so, then came back upstream, right infront of me, a rod length out it just stopped. water was ripping through, around 7ft deep, rod, tip to butt, no movement, a bit of stalemate, I then changed the angle, moving the rod downstream, fish takes off down river too around where I hooked it, comes back up, and a repeat performance, 3rd time, the fish surfaces before heading down, a very broad back ,big head, tail comes up, just huge and out pinged the hook. The air was full of expletives for the rest of the day, and still is whenever we talk about it, an amazing experience non the less.
Difficult to put a weight on it, certainly a good 20, but I will never know.
peter
 

fishpond

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Two fish stand out for me the first was at Cairnton on the end of our first visit there David the ghillie showed me the cairnton knot which I duly used to tie on the fly and fished out of the jetties below those in front of the main house towards the falls and i hooked a fish in a lie a long way below the bottom jetty it hung around then took off and all went slack leaving me with a pig tail on the end of the tippet - not huge but the first and hopefully last time I had a knot pull! Second was last year at Woodmill where I hooked a fish just near the fish pass and played it hard on a heavy#8 weight bent double and fifteen pound tippet for 10 or so minutes and it just plodded up and down with no impact from the strain being applied then the hook pulled - would just love to know what it was sea trout, salmon or bass (or carp as some cruel friends suggested!)

Tight lines

Richard
 

Cookie-boy

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Wasn't salmon fishing but fishing off rocks for wrasse down in Cornwall with my brother. Something took my bait and when I struck into it it was like hooking a slow moving submarine. Whatever it was started heading to sea and moving quicker and quicker, I couldn't even raise the rod. So much line was being taken and so fast now the reel was literally smoking. Ping! For 30 years I have wrestled with WTF that thing was?
 

bassfly

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Mine was a sea trout in June 2001 on the River Eachaig.
Mainly fished at night but also in the early afternoon after a morning sleep. This day I was fishing at the bottom of the river near the confluence of the Wee Eachaig with my mate Jim who was lower down and nearer to Holly Loch. We both spotted at the same time a bow wave slowly cruising into the river from the loch and it could only be a very large fish. Jim had the first few casts to no avail and then as it came closer it was my turn. At the mouth of the Wee Eachaig I made my third cast with a Ally’s Shrimp and bingo the fish was on. It sped back toward the loch and made numerous leaps in the air before boring back up river. It turned again a made a leap into the air and cleared the water by what seemed three to four foot and shook its head and then turned full circle before landing back in the water.
The line was slack and a true beauty of a sea trout went on its way. Gutted.
 

Isisalar

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A sea Trout for me too.
Some 10 or 15 yrs ago I fished the Woodmill pool on the Itchen regularly. One year they had done some work on the pool and frankly they shouldn't have. All the cast impeding trees and branches had been left in place and the trees that shielded the pool from the adjacent streetlamps had been cut back. None of the snags had been removed and the streetlamps made watching your line virtually impossible if not painful. This was the start of me beginning to dislike the management, a lot.
Was on the platform on the left of the hut, which is around 10' above the water at low tide, between the tides and for the umpteenth time that night I became snagged on the bottom. Totally pee'd of by all the above, indeed very angry, I pulled and released the fly. Casting from this platform, with the untrimmed trees behind needed a sort of steeple cast and I proceeded to strip in very quickly straight into the back cast. Mid back cast as the fly got to eye level a large Sea Trout shot out of the depths and grabbed the fly about 3' away from me, eyeball to eyeball, it crashed back into the water, I was in contact for a second and then nothing.
How big it was I couldn't say, probably 7 or 8lb but it's certainly one I'll never forget.
 

Kype King

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The one that got away!

The biggest salmon I've ever seen (and lost!!) was one I hooked on the Wyeseal beat of the Bigsweir Estate on the Wye, about four or five years ago. I was fishing a 3/4" Willie Gunn Gold Conehead and fishing down to a rock at the start of the main run. My fly stopped and I assumed that it had caught the rock. I gave it a good 'tug' and then felt a steady thumping - yikes, that's a fish. After a short while it took off diagonally downstream at a steady but not slow pace. I cranked the drag on my loop classic as far as I dared (15lb Maxima leader) but it made no difference - the power was incredible. I eventually got level with the fish, retreiving line, and it stopped for a breather on the edge of the main current, which is when I first saw it's tail - it was huge, just like a big shovel as others have described. We then settled down to a game where the fish took off to the far side of the river and I got line back inch by inch before it took off again. We zig-zagged down the pool for about 250 yards to a point just above a croy. I was standing in a backwater and got my Sharp's gym net ready in anticipation - the fish had been on for about half an hour by then. At one point I managed to get the end of the 10ft polyleader through the top ring of my Hardy Sintrix 14 1/5' rod and was licking my lips in anticipation! I got a really good look at the fish and it took my breath away - I reckon it was a good four foot long and very deep. Unfortunately the fish also got a good look at me and took off upstream at some speed, taking me way into the backing and with the clicker on my reel screaming. I eventually got level with it and it decided to lie doggo on the edge of the current on my side. I could see it quite clearly but could do nothing to make it budge. It had been on for about fifty minutes by this stage and my shoulders were screaming. If my beat partner had been there that day I'd have handed to rod to him to have a rest, but unfortunately work commitments meant he couldn't make it. I had visions of being stuck like this for hours so decided I had to do something to try to get the fish to move. I began to exert side pressure from slightly downstream. At the point where the rod was bent double the fly parted company from the fish's mouth and shot straight past me into the bank behind! I sank to the ground, with hands shaking from all the adrenaline, and wished that I was still a smoker. Strangely, I didn't feel particularly disappointed - I guess I was just grateful to have at least made contact with such a magnificent fish, that confirmed that the Wye still produces leviathans from time to time. I had to tell someone so I got in my car and drove down to Llandogo beat where I met Herbie and his beat partner (I can't remember his name!) - both old Wye hands. I was castigated and told that, with big fish, you have to take your time. If someone had been with me the outcome may well have been different. How big was the fish? It's impossible to say but I guesstimated it to be between 30-40lbs. It certainly looked similar the one in this photo from the Royal beat of the Avon, which I'm told measured 44". View attachment 43996I still dream of that epic battle! My biggest fish landed to date is a 21lb 'crocodile' (shown in my profile photo)from the Alness River in Scotland - on an 11'3" switch rod. Also posted this on the biggest salmon I've ever seen forum!
 
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