When Peter Fawcett hooked a potentially world record-sized brown trout on a fishing trip, he knew straight away he was in for a fight.
About a fortnight ago, the Herbert man landed a brown trout while fishing at Ohau C canal near Twizel that tipped the scales at an estimated 44lb (20kg) about eight hours after it was caught.
However, it will not be considered a world record despite the fact it is bigger than the 42lb (19kg) monster caught by Otwin Kandolf, who caught his fish in the Ohau canal in 2013, as it was not weighed on an official set of scales.
Mr Fawcett is not too concerned – he is just happy he managed to haul his catch on to dry land.
“We saw really big fish in the water and I thought, ‘I’ll try and get one of those things’. I tried casting to get the distance right . . . it actually rolled over one fish and this other big one in the middle just hooked on to it.”
Using a soft bait and yellow glow bead, Mr Fawcett spent about 35 minutes trying to land the beast, which he said “just went ballistic” and rocketed upstream, across the canal and then back downstream.
His gear sustained damage during the struggle.
“I fish with some good, proper gear but it burnt the felt drag washer. It just fell to pieces when I took it apart.
“When I first struck the fish, it was like a torpedo in the water. It was unreal.”
Mr Fawcett has also caught 39lb (17.5kg) and 37lb (16.5kg) fish in his time, and has a 34lb (15.5kg) specimen mounted at his home.
Asked if he planned to mount his largest catch, he said that would not be possible.
“No, I’ve eaten it. I can’t afford the $1000 to have it mounted.”
He said there were some “monster fish” in the area, but not everyone was as lucky as him.
“If they’re biting, they’re biting. Otherwise, they’re laughing at you.”