Big Fish

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Big fish have in the news this year with the announcement of two new potential world records as well as a report of a large Atlantic salmon caught in Scotland. The first record was for a brown trout caught on New Zealand’s South Island. The trout weighed in at an impressive 42 pounds and 1ounce. It beat the previous world record brown which was a 41 pounds and 7.25 ounce fish caught in the Manistee River in Michigan in 2009.

The second potential world record was for a codfish caught in the Norwegian Sea. This fish weighed 102 pounds and was 5 feet long. It trumps the current world record which was a 98 pound, 12 ounce cod caught off New Hampshire in 1969. The Atlantic salmon in the news was a 50 pound fish caught in the River Tweed in Scotland. The fish apparently breaks a record which stood for 85 years on that river. While most of our fish may not reach these impressive sizes we have some large ones here as well. The Nova Scotia Sport Fish Registry, which is maintained by the Inland Fisheries Division, lists records for fish caught in Nova Scotia. A brown trout caught in River John  by Georgina Marshall in 2011 is the top brown trout in the youth catch and keep category. This impressive fish weighed in at 4 pounds.

The large salmon caught in Scotland had me checking my copy of  Fred Buller's excellent book entitled Giant Salmon - A Record of the Largest Atlantic Salmon Ever Caught. In this impressive work Mr. Buller shares 40 years of  information gathered on every Atlantic salmon with a weight of 50 pounds, or over, caught in rivers around the world. The book categories not only include the size of the fish but also the method of capture, which ranges from fly and lure to the poachers net. There are also fascinating stories of how the fish were caught. A book on giant salmon deserves to be an impressive piece of work and, with 488 pages, this book certainly lives up to its name.

I thought the Margaree had produced a fish over fifty pounds so I checked Buller’s book to make sure and I wasn't disappointed. Mr. Buller had done his research thoroughly and he includes the 52 and a half pound salmon caught in the Margaree by Cecil MacKenzie in 1927. His verification was a letter written to the Fishing Gazette by George H. Chislett of North Sydney in September of 1927. Mr. Chislett brought their attention to the new record and included a clipping from the Sydney Post which was a precursor to the Cape Breton Post. The clipping stated the fish was caught on a Silver Gray fly in a pool up in Big Intervale and "gave the angler a desperate battle."

If you are interested in salmon this book is a great read and I highly recommend it. While my dream is to land a 20-pounder this book will whet your appetite for really big salmon. How big can they grow? The largest found by Mr. Buller was a 103-pound salmon netted by poachers in Scotland's River Forth back in 1907. A truly big fish.

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