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Entries in Great Britain (3)


New British Record Rainbow Was an Escapee

An escapee from a fish farm likely will be the new record rainbow trout for Great Britain.  That's right in keeping with the tradition of the world record rainbow trout caught Saskatchewan in 2009.

Caught by Michael Mitchell, the British lunker weighed 34 pounds, 12 ounces, and, incredibly, is believed to have been just five years old. After escaping from a fish farm on Loch Earn, in Scotland's Perthshire, it grew quickly on abundant minnows and stickleback, as well as smaller brown trout in the lake.

In fact, Mitchell was fishing for stocked brown trout with maggots when the rainbow struck.

"I was out in the loch on a boat with my brother-in-law, Ian Devine, and we just had a break for a sandwich when I caught a wee brown trout which I released because of its size," Mitchell said.

"Then this monster struck and, when it did, it nearly took my rod in. I just managed to grab hold of it in time.

"I knew it was a big one and panicked a bit. It took about 15 minutes to reel in and got a bit of a fright when I saw it. I have never caught a fish that big before."

The huge trout broke through two landing nets before the anglers were able to bring it aboard their boat.

Rainbow trout were introduced into Britain from North America in 1884. They are found in fish farms and lakes, and the most are sterile so they can't spawn.

Coincidentally, the 48-pound world record, caught in Saskatchewan's Lake Diefenbaker also was a triploid, a genetically engineered fish with three sets of chromosomes. Because of their sterility, such fish channel all of their energy into growth instead of reproduction.

That fish surpassed a 43-pound, 10-ounce specimen also caught in in Diefenbaker in 2007.


The Reel Truth About Catch of Giant Catfish

This wels catfish was caught on the Neckar River in Germany. Photo by Peter Merkel

As with any angling addict, I watch most every television program that relates to fishing. That includes Jeremy Wade’s River Monsters on the Animal Planet channel.

His over-the-top dramatization of stories about and encounters with “killer” fish drive me crazy, but still I watch. Seeing the people, the places, and the fish featured are worth enduring a little mental anguish, I guess.

But now it seems that the Brit’s yellow journalism --- for which his countrymen are so famous--- is infecting other outdoor media, perhaps because of his success.

Here’s what I mean: “U.K. Angler Dragged into Lake by Giant Catfish.”

That headline appears in Outdoor Hub’s June 18 Fishing News.

Makes you want to read the story, huh?

But that’s not what happened. 

Now, I like the Outdoor Hub. I read its stories often. But it misled its readers with this one.

What happened is that the angler waded into the lake to battle the 108-pound wels catfish and lost his balance a couple of times.

What he accomplished was remarkable in and of itself. His tale needed no embellishment.

He was fishing for carp with 8-pound line and a spinning rod, when the big fish struck. He fought it for two hours, wading into the water to get as close as he could to the catfish to relieve stress on his line and tackle.

And now a shameless plug:

I did much the same thing to catch a tarpon from a Costa Rica beach, while fishing for snook with light tackle. I recount that battle in an essay entitled “You Just Never Know,” which is part of my new book, Why We Fish--- Reel Wisdom from Real Fishermen.

Go here to learn more about the book, including the names of others who contributed.


Zebra Mussels Introduced to 'Clean Up the Water'

I long ago accepted the fact that stupid decisions are made regarding management of waters and lands.

Still, sometimes the immenseness of that stupidity staggers me. That’s the case this time with the intentional introduction of zebra mussels in Great Britain.

This article says that the mussels “were introduced to clean up the water.”

And an official responsible for this insanity says, "We want to keep the water as clean as possible and as clear as possible so the whole society can benefit.

"People can now walk along the quayside (at Salford Quays) and see clean and clear water."

I’ll bet that they can. Aquatic life has been sucked right out of the water.

These are the same mussels that have collapsed the food chain in Lake Huron and are well on their way to doing the same in Lake Michigan. They do so by gobbling phytoplankton and zooplankton with their rapacious filter-feeding.

Along with their quagga mussel cousins, they also have been linked to an increase in toxic algae blooms in the Great Lakes, as well as outbreaks of avian botulism that have killed thousands of loons and other birds.

And of course, these invaders are costly. Governments and industries must spend billions annually to keep them from blocking water intakes.

Let’s not forget, too, that they easily spread from one water body to another in livewells and bilges, as well as on boat hulls and trailers.

Back in Britain, meanwhile a fishing club has disbanded because its members have failed to catch a single fish during their last four competitions in the mussel-infested waters.

And the company that introduced the mussels denies that they are to blame for the fisheries decline.

Yeah, right.