“On the hook set, the line started screaming out the reel as my rod bent in a very gratifying way. I deliberately had very little tension on, as I have lost a few big ‘donkey’ fish from a broken line before.
I ran down the canal after the fish thinking I had a good one on… maybe over 10 pounds!”
She thought the fish had gotten the line caught in something underwater:
“I tried putting some pressure on the line, but it didn’t budge, and I didn’t want to break my line off. John said I would have to be patient and maybe the fish would get itself off the obstacle.
I reeled my line in as I walked down the canal until I was almost opposite the fish, and John and I waited and speculated on the size of the fish while I bemoaned the fact that it had got snagged. After a couple of minutes, my line started to slowly pull out of the reel. ‘Look, John,’ I called out, ‘My line is moving.’ John said, ‘Rae that’s not snagged, that’s a big fish!’”
Finally, she was able to gain line on the fish again, and it eventually came to the surface, and she knew she had something special on her hands:
“After a few more small runs, I managed to reel in the most gorgeous and biggest trout I have ever seen. John asked if he could net the fish for me and I readily agreed. He grabbed my net and jumped into the water and scooped it up… just as my hook came out of its mouth.”
And boy, “something special” was an understatement, because she realized she had reeled in a ginormous rainbow trout.
It was 34.6 inches long, and had a girth of 27.5 inches, and weighed in at 30.31 pounds. At that point, she knew she had a shot at the world record…
And she was correct.
Bushby’s fish is the current International Game Fish Association women’s eight-pound line class world record.
She beat out a 29-pound five-ouncer caught by Emily Allum in the Tekapo Canal back in 2019.
Needless to say, Bushby was stoked about her new record:
“My dad and I were flabbergasted that I had managed to catch her on my cheap rod,” says Bushby. “I’m absolutely thrilled with my effort, and that I didn’t lose this donkey of a fish!”