The Probable World Record Brook Trout Released  

 In 2006, Tim Matheson and fishing partner Doug were trolling Barbe Lake in Manitoba using a three-way swivel, a lead weight and floating crankbait. The wind forced them to fish a small bay in the north-west section of the lake and within the first half hour Tim caught the first fish of the day. “We were trolling as slow as we could…with a ninety (horsepower) in around 14 to16 feet.” Tim lands a 27 inch Rainbow Trout and just two passes later, Doug hooks into and lands a 29-inch Rainbow Trout! “I took a picture of him with the fish and we measured it and released it. But enough about him.” Tim says laughing. The area they are forced to fish is producing and they stick to trolling across the mouth of the bay but Tim decides to change up his presentation. “I took off that three-way swivel cause I didn’t like fighting (a fish) with that lead weight hanging down. That’s when I put on the #13 jointed Rapala in chartreuse – you’re not going to print any of that right?”

“I think we were going east to west this time across that bay and ‘POW!’ I got another hit. This thing was just ripping line! My reel was squealing - a sick sound that I just… (you can tell he’s reliving the moment here and is at a loss for words)…you know it’s a high-end reel and it isn’t supposed to sound like that! It was just…Yuck! Anyway I get it up and it runs again and we still haven’t seen it. It probably made five or six really good runs and then I got a look at it and thought ‘My God that’s a Brook Trout’ but I wasn’t really sure - it was just a quick look and it was that flame red (I saw) but I wasn’t sure. Anyways it’s gone again, I get it back up, and now we know it is (a Brookie). Then it ran off ten or fifteen more feet and now - I’m scared! This is a good fish; this is a really good fish. I get it back up and Doug nets it (a sound of relief in his voice here). We lifted it up and over (into the boat) and we saw it out of the water and it was just… ‘LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THIS THING! So I pick up the fish and get (Doug to take) a headshot. I tell him to take another one, and another one, and another one. I know Doug; if he takes 10 pictures I’ll get one good one (laughs). I measured the girth and it read 21-inches. I put it in the water, held on to it and he took a picture. It’s an absolutely beautiful picture and you can’t help but see my grinning face. Anyway, my hand was freezing (holding on to it) in that 39-degree water, and then it swam away. I stood up and looked at Doug, he looked at me, and all (H-E-double hockey sticks) broke loose! We started yellin’ and whoopin’! We even belly bumped in the boat! Twice we did that and I said ‘we gotta stop cause I can’t swim; if I get bumped overboard I’m done!!’ That’s when everything started shaking. I’m still high on this fish.”

On releasing the potential world record: “It gave me so much pleasure. I mean I get 50% of my pleasure watching the fish swim away. Even my guests comment on how excited I get when a Laker or a Pike swim away from the boat.” According to the IGFA rules and given his situation, the only way Tim could have submitted the Brookie for World Record status would have been to kill it, and that wasn’t an option in his book. Congratulations Tim on a job well done!

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