New Zealand woman catches record-breaking rainbow trout


Rae Bushby has only been fishing for a little over a year – and she’s already caught a fish every trout angler would dream of. On August 15, she went fishing with her 88-year-old father Robert in the Tekapo Channel in Central New Zealand. Bushby says she started fishing 16 months ago and her father is her regular fishing buddy. Robert was taking a break at about 10:30 a.m. on the 15th when the huhu grub—a small mealybug—the Bushby he was using for bait was struck.

“On the set of hooks, the line started screaming off the reel as my rod bent in a very nice way,” says Bushby. F&S. “I deliberately had very little tension, having lost some big ‘ass’ fish from a broken line earlier. I ran down the channel after the fish thinking I had a good one… maybe over 10 pounds!”

Bushby says her friend John was fishing about 100 meters downstream. The fish was running hard towards him with Bushby scrambling down the bank in hot pursuit. Suddenly, the fish stopped and Bushby thought he had caught the line on an underwater structure. “I tried to put some pressure on the line but he didn’t move and I didn’t want to break my line. John said to be patient and maybe the fish will move away from the snag,” says Bushby. “I put in my line as I walked down the channel until I was almost in front of the fish, and John and I waited and speculated on the size of the fish, while I complained about the fact that he had been caught. After a few minutes, my line began to slowly pull from the reel. “Look, John,” I called, “My line is moving. John said, “Rae that’s not caught, it’s a big fish!”

the woman lies on the ground next to the large rainbow trout
New Zealand’s Tekapo Channel is known for its big trout. Rae Bushby

The fish continued to move down the channel, but at a slower pace than before. Soon, the fish stopped again. Bushby got downstream and used the current to her advantage. She began to win the line back over the fish. She slowly fought the big trout, letting it take the line when it had to. Eventually, it broke through the surface before rising in a bubbling run. At the time, Bushby says workers at a nearby salmon farm lined the canal to watch the fight.

“After a few small runs, I managed to reel in the most amazing and biggest trout I’ve ever seen,” says Bushby. “John asked me if he could net the fish for me and I immediately agreed. He grabbed my net and jumped into the water and got it.…just as my hook came out of my mouth.”

Fisherman celebrates a possible world record

man holds large rainbow trout
Bushby’s father Robert (left) is her regular fishing buddy. Rae Bushby

The rainbow trout that Bushby had caught was even bigger than he had originally thought. It was 34.6 inches long and had a circumference of 27.5 inches. The fish tips the scales at 30.31 pounds. Bushby later realized she might have a world record on her hands. Bushby’s fish tops the current International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world record for women’s 8-pound line class, which is a 29-pound, 5-ouncer caught by Emily Allum in the Tekapo Channel in 2019. Bushby has presented an IGFA record entry and is waiting to hear back about her potential record.

Read more: New World Record Brown Trout has been certified by the IGFA

In recent years, New Zealand has produced some rainbow and brown trout. The country’s canals, which are made up of high-quality, glacier-fed water, are home to massive salmon farming operations. Channel-dwelling trout are fed surplus food from salmon farms, allowing them to grow to record sizes.

“My dad and I were amazed that I was able to catch it with my free stick,” says Bushby. “I’m absolutely thrilled with my effort and that I didn’t lose this fish ass!”





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