Little did Aaron McDonald know when he started his fishing day today that he’d break a record. Who thinks of such things? But his morning fishing with his uncle and fishing guide Bill Beck turned out to be just that kind of morning.
McDonald, a resident of Sugarland, Texas, was up visiting his relatives here in the Branson area. He and his son 6 year old, Brayton, got up early and made the trip to the Cooper Creek boat ramp at daybreak. Beck, a seasoned professional fishing guide here on Taneycomo as well as other area lakes, has been taking Aaron fishing on Taneycomo since he was a small boy.
They put their boat in a started fishing a Trout Magnet, a lure Beck has been using for several months for trout and doing quite well.
They were fishing the bluff bank close to the access when Aaron hooked his trophy rainbow.
“I had missed three trout before setting the hook on this one, I didn’t want to miss another one so I set the hook hard and fast”, said McDonald.
The big rainbow came close to the surface in the clear water of Taneycomo so they immediately knew what he had on the line.
Beck had tied on 2 pound fluorocarbon line so fighting this fish was going to take some time… and skill.
“Twice that big momma got mixed up in some trees on the bottom of the lake and I thought we were going to lose her but Aaron worked her out of both spots,” said Beck.
Forty-five minutes later, Beck netted their trout. It was one of the prettiest rainbows ever caught on the lake. It was a female, small head and mouth, but high sides and thick body.
The fish was immediately put in the live well with the intentions of taking it to Lilleys’ Landing’s dock for pictures, revival and release. “Lilley’s has a large, aerated minnow tank big enough to hold her so that she can gain her strength back and not get hurt.”
Phil Lilley, owner of Lilleys’ Landing, met the group on the dock. Their rainbow was way too big for Beck’s livewell. They had the head and body underwater but the tail was sticking out the side. Beck had ran his aerator over the fish’s head to give it the best chance possible for release. We transferred her to the big tank and started working her back and forth to keep water running through it’s gills.
“We quickly weighed and measured the rainbow, snapped some quick pictures and put her back in the tank,” reported Lilley. “We’ve had quite a few huge trout come in over the years and this is the best way to revive them.”
McDonald’s trophy rainbow tipped the scales at 17.48 pounds, just 18 ounces off the current Missouri state record. It measured 31 inches long and 21 inches in girth.
“This is the kind of rainbows we see in Alaska,” exclaimed Lilley. “A 30-inch rainbow is considered a lifetime trout in most of the rivers up there. One from down here in the lower 48 states is really incredible.”
In the end, McDonald’s rainbow did not survive it’s capture. “Big trout like this one do not do well after being caught, after being fought that long. We did our best to release it for someone else to catch it but it was not meant to be.”
Rainbow trout just don’t get much bigger than 15 pounds. They usually die of old age before getting that big.
“This going to show Lake Taneycomo is still a world class trout fishery,” claimed Lilley.