trophy fish: what is it really and how do you catch one
I’ve been fishing most of my life and only recently thought about trophy fish. For some it’s the biggest fish they ever caught, for others it’s a memorable moment between man and beast (or woman and beast).
For me it’s the expression of a compulsive obsession of stalking a targeted species for years and coming up with the best representation of that fish in its native waters. (see video for full story)
I’ve caught plenty of “trophy fish” from 170-pound plus tarpon to sailfish to 35-pound bull dolphin (mahi mahi or Dorado) and sharks measured in meters. But the two that I have mounted and display are much smaller than those those. (Both mounts are made from exact measurements and photos and the fish were safely released).
Trophy Bonefish: 14 pounds
I have spent years and countless thousands of dollars chasing bonefish all across Biscyane Bay, my local waters, in pursuit of a trophy. Over the years I caught plenty of 5-8 pound fish which are great and a bucket list form many. But I wanted big slob of a hog.
My shot came one day when a school of large bones were tailing in the skinny waters of Biscyane National park and I sight casted a live shrimp to a big hog.
Once hooked the bonefish easily peeled off a 100 yards of line before I could turn him and settle into a spectacular fight. After a bruising fight on light tackle, a few photos and making sure this trophy was strong and healthy we released it back to the wild.
Now I have a mount of this beautiful fish in my “man cave”
Trophy Rainbow Trout: 29 inches
Much like bonefish, rainbow trout are another obsession of mine and I have chased (and caught) rainbows from Maine to Montana and from Asheville to Alaska. I targeted opening day weekend on the Kenai River in Alaska as my best bet for a trophy rainbow.
This river is known for some of the largest rainbows and opening day did not disappoint. Using a 5 wt fly rod and a salmon egg fly(bead) I landed my trophy and personal best rainbow, 29 inches of pure beauty. While this river produces fish much larger, this was the largest fish taken in early June when the season started, which made it so much sweeter.
Again, we took pictures, fist pumped my guide and safely released this fish back to the wild.
I had a local taxidermist make my mount form photos and measurements.
On the hunt for Trophy Peacock Bass
Living in South Florida we are blessed with lots of peacock bass which were introduced decades ago by FWC as a means to control other invasive species (more on that in another post)
Peacock bass here are aggressive, hard hitting and hard fighting freshwater fish found in canals, lakes and the everglades. However, they get no where near the size they do in their native Amazon rivers.
My personal best in Florida is 6 1/4 pounds and I am hoping for a 20 pounder in Brazil in 2023 / 24 seasons. More on that later.