The monster trout from the Upper Waitaki hydro canals just keep on getting bigger, with a brown trout close to 40lb (18 kilos) being caught last weekend.
Timaru shearer, Evan Johnson, has set a national record with his 39.7lb female trout and what could be a world record for a female brown. His catch follows other monster canal fish; a 37.4lb (17kg) rainbow trout caught by American Mike Was in 2002 and a 38.5lb (17.5kg) rainbow landed the following year by Tony Washington, of Hilton.
In recent years fish over 30lb plus (13-14kg) have been recorded, with fish weights in double figures not uncommon.
Mr Johnston caught his fish on Monday afternoon in the Ohau C canal while threadline fishing with a Tasmanian Devil lure. He said it took a good 20 minutes to fight and land the fish. While the fish did fit in his landing net, the net broke as he hauled it from the water.
Mr Johnson said he had been fishing the canals for a couple of years, with his previous largest catch being 15lb (6.8kg). The big fish is likely to be mounted.
Timaru fishing columnist Peter Shutt said yesterday he expected canal fish, many of which live under the salmon farm cages, would just keep on getting bigger. He said the fish were getting all the feed they needed as it fell through the salmon farm cages.
"Really, it's meals on wheels to them".
While some anglers believe canal fishing is not a true form of angling, Mr Shutt said there was still skill involved in catching them. He said the angler had to get their gear at the right level in the water and past the nose of a fish, and once the fish was hooked, usually on light gear, plenty of skill was needed to hold on to it.
"It's a fishery that's certainly appreciated by a lot of people. There is a lot of effort and skill needed to catch a fish of that size and there are lot of times people go home with nothing."
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