NZ Fish & Game - - Front Page -

A SIM­PLE QUES­TION RE­ALLY. DO BIG FISH FIGHT? AT FIRST, it seems like the an­swer is ob­vi­ous. Surely a big trout must fight like a mus­cle-bound gang mem­ber in a dark al­ley. The sheer bulk of a tro­phy trout makes that the ob­vi­ous con­clu­sion. Their mass alone sug­gests a for­mi­da­ble op­po­nent on the op­po­site end of the line, par­tic­u­larly when the New Zealand en­vi­ron­ment forces us to use long, fine lead­ers and small flies.

There is an­other ar­gu­ment to this ques­tion too. I’ve heard many an­glers per­ceive tro­phy fish, par­tic­u­larly the truly ‘girthy’ mod­els, as fight­ing like obese couch-pota­toes rather than fleet-footed box­ers. Af­ter all, the body shape of many of th­ese fish does not ex­actly por­tray the vis­ual per­cep­tion of a sleek, fast fighter. Their form is much more akin to a lum­ber­ing, out-of-shape hulk that should tire quickly.

So, which of th­ese per­cep­tions is true? Do the aquatic be­he­moths that so of­ten cap­ti­vate our an­gling at­ten­tion ac­tu­ally of­fer a fight that ac­cords with their size? Do tro­phy fish give a cor­re­spond­ing tro­phy con­test once hooked, or does the thrill of the chase make up the ma­jor­ity of the chal­lenge when it comes to the big­gest denizens of our rivers?

I have heard of fish­er­man ve­he­mently preach and de­fend each side of the con­tention. Many in­sist that tro­phy trout of­fer the ul­ti­mate bat­tle once hooked, but many oth­ers con­tend that tro­phy fish are over­rated when it comes to the scrap they put up. I have heard nu­mer­ous hulk­ing fish de­scribed as fight­ing like a wet sock, or like reel­ing in a wa­ter­logged

Tim An­geli asks whether the tro­phy trout that so of­ten cap­ti­vate an­glers’ at­ten­tion ac­tu­ally

of­fer a fight that matches their size.

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