What do you think of these fish?

Take a look at this fish, all 25lb of it caught by Les Carter during our heat of the Airflo world bank masters held at Exe Valley Fishery last weekend.  What do you think? 

Exe Valley record Rainbow Trout of 25lb caught in 2014

Les with his Lunker – all 25lb of it!

Personally I think that for a cultivated, stock fish it is actually very good looking and a credit to Fred who produces the fish here at Exe Valley.   But from the point of view of going fishing, it doesn’t excite me and targeting small stillwater doubles certainly isn’t my passion. On the other hand if it was a specimen sized wild Brown on a picturesque wilderness river I would want to know when, where & how.

Fin perfect Rainbows on reservoirs also float my boat, especially caught using imitative patterns and one of my most memorable Trout fishing experiences was catching wild Rainbows over on a lake in Montana.  The locals damn near cast that venue off as second rate fishing, despite the incredible scenery, snow capped mountains, gin clear water and Trout that couldn’t get enough of UK style Buzzers.  I will never forget that trip but then again I don’t have the Yellowstone National Park to explore every day.  To the Montana locals my dream lake probably wasn’t even second or third best.

Fly Fishing for Rainbow Trout in Montana

It was heaven for me but the Montana locals barely gave this lake a second thought

That’s what floats my boat but imagine if all fluff chuckers here in the UK only went fishing for indigenous species and small stillwater stocked lakes did not exist.  Where would our fly fishing be now?  It’s a very small country with an enormous population so it is quite possible that our wild fishing could be ruined.  Or would it just be supremely difficult?

Fin perfect Montana Rainbow Trout

2lbs of wild Montana Magic!

This wasn’t really supposed to be an all deep and meaning full post but it is not every day that a 25lb Trout is caught at Exe Valley.  Perhaps I don’t really need to put jumbo Trout in the lake, but I have a feeling that if the biggest was say only 4lbs that I would be asked to stock something bigger.  There is usually always a double swimming around in there somewhere but when these leviathans became available I couldn’t resist giving someone the chance of what to them might be the fish of a lifetime.

A breathtaking Montana Lake with snow capped mountains in the background

Its certainly not just the fish, or the size for me – this special place is indelibly etched on my memory

(A BIG thank you to Henry Gilbey for the Montana photos – we must return one day!)

And as I sat here putting my thoughts down there was an almighty crash as a very breathless Jill King stumbled into the shop.  In fact she nigh on kicked the door down in excitement to reveal her mate Jenny carrying yet another enormous fish.  It wasn’t difficult to get 76 year old Jill to smile for the camera and hardly surprising, she has not been well lately and her last 4 fishing trips have all been blank.  And then she goes and hooks a Herman Munster Trout of 20lb 8oz  … which I think is bloody fantastic!

A 20lb 8oz Rainbow Trout caught by Jill King at Exe Valley Fishery

The BIG Trout which made Jill very happy!

Thanks to all those who supported the match on Saturday and particular congratulations to Les Carter, not only for the 25lb record but also for winning the heat and a set of Costa sunglasses.  In fact this fish was only worth 1 point as weight does not count to the overall result!  Second was Andy Ford who I mentioned in my last blog post and who convinced Les he should enter. Quietly I think he was kicking himself for that! In 3rd was Rob Wilksinson who also landed a Brown Trout of over 9lb and with the 4th qualifying place was Exe Valley regular Richard Cooper.  Good luck to you all at the Elinor final on Sunday 13th April.

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