In his 16 years of fishing, Tyler Byron says he has never seen a bigger fish than the rainbow trout he caught last week.
The Mataura man caught the 32.83lb rainbow trout while on a spontaneous fishing trip to the Tekapo Canal on Thursday, which had recently reopened after spawning season.
‘‘Me and my partner, we just thought we’d come up for two days and see what’ll happen and boom, we caught this massive trout,’’ he said.
They were fishing at a spot popular among anglers, known as the Magic Carpet.
‘‘I felt a wee hit on my rod . . .I thought it was a snag and my mate who was with me thought it was a snag, but then it started running.’’
That was when he realised he had hooked a fish, though initially it did not put up much of a fight.
‘‘It felt like a 10lb trout really,’’ he said.
‘‘Then it started picking up its strength, and then it started really going.
‘‘I felt excited and then I felt nervous. Adrenaline was pumping through me. Everything was happening all at once. I had a glimpse of it when it came to the surface and I was like ‘holy, this is a big trout’.’’
His friend was able to get the trout in a net and weighed it in at 32.83lb.
‘‘I couldn’t stop smiling,’’ Mr Byron said.
‘‘I’ve never seen a fish this big my whole entire life.’’
The rainbow trout would live to fight another day as Mr Byron decided to release it.
‘‘I do it for the passion. I like being outdoors and I like seeing how the trout fight in the water and how they survive and how they get all their food.
Us anglers, we have to try match what they’re eating. It’s a bit of a competition to try catch these big trout, or any trout really.’’
While there was no obvious record of a bigger rainbow trout being caught in New Zealand, Fish and Game central South Island ranger Rhys Adams said it was likely bigger ones had been caught in the past.
‘‘I would say it’s an exceptionally big rainbow trout.
‘‘It’s still a bigger trout than 99.9% of trout anglers will catch in their lifetime.’’