Back in November 2015 I posted a report about a fish, stocked into Anchor Lake, that was going to result in one very happy angler indeed!
Well congratulations to Dr Mike Webster for becoming that angler! He visited Exe Valley on Thursday 14th April 2016 and I don’t think he really imagined what would happen next.
It all started when Mikes fishing buddy for the day, Andrew Player, came dashing up to the cafe with news that Mike was stuck into a very reasonable fish and was worried that his net was not big enough. And then Andrew said “We think it’s a big Brown Trout”
I wasn't leaving this to chance and so grabbed my McLeans Salmon & Sea Trout Net, just in case Mike really was latched into the potential record Exe Valley Brown Trout and ran down to Anchor Lake. This is the scene which greeted me when I arrived at the waters edge.
Mikes rod was taking on an alarming curve and there was little wonder as it was only a 5 weight, coupled to an 8lb leader. It transpired that he had already been playing the fish for well over half an hour, but I did not get to see it properly for 5 minutes. The rod just stayed hooped over, Mike had a half grimace, half worried and half amazed expression on his face while all of us just hoped the line would stay tight.
And then Mike managed to turn the fish, it rolled near the surface, the huge flank of the Brown stocked 139 days previously lit up by the spring sunshine, before once again it crash dived towards the lake bed, attempting to rub out the Hares Ear nymph.
Another 5 minutes went by but it was clear the fish was tired and I urged Mike to take a breath, apply some pressure and see if he could get the big Brown to give up. There were tense moments as the fish made a few last bids for freedom but in the end Mikes biggest ever fish and Exe Valleys record Brown Trout, weighing 14lb 10oz, was in the net.
There are many emotions when such a fish is landed, especially when it has fought so hard for its freedom. I think all of us would have liked to have released the fish, but the reality is that the stress of such a long fight would have made recovery difficult. Mike has the pictures to remember his session which he described on his return as “Incredible” but also rather than turning the fish into supper he is going to have the fish set up by a taxidermist.
These Brown Trout continue to amaze me. Hundreds of anglers have made thousands of casts throughout the winter and yet this fish managed to evade capture. It was also in fantastic condition and I reckon one or two of the wild Browns and small escapee Rainbows that inhabit the lake might well have met their end in its jaws which were filled with some impressive teeth.
Plenty more action on the fishery to report but it is not every day that such a special fish is landed so until next time thanks for reading and if you are on Facebook please check out our new page here and if you like what you see then a like would be very much appreciated.
Tightlines & Wet Nets,