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World Record Brown Trout Nabbed Before Midnight

August 13, 1988

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ It was around midnight when Mike Manley roused the sleeping fishing guide who lives near the North Fork River. Manley suspected the brown trout he had just caught was no ordinary fish, and he needed some expert advice.

A short time later, surrounded by witnesses, the certified scale at Harp’s Super Store at Mountain Home confirmed that Manley, 26, of North Little Rock had captured a world record brown trout.

The 38-pound, 9-ounce fish had approached the McClellens’ boat dock in Baxter County seven times and fought its way out again before Manley got a good look at it.

″I saw the fish in the lantern light. It was hanging about a foot out of the net and was bending it all over the place,″ he said Monday.

Manley’s friend, Tommy Long, was standing in water that was about 2-feet deep, trying to net the fish, according to Manley. ″When I saw that fish, I just jumped into the water to help him.″

″I thought it might be a state record, but I never dreamed it was a world record,″ Manley said.

Manley, Long and a third friend, Paul Suddeth, were looking for something to do after Manley finished his dairy delivery route Aug. 6. They chose fishing over hunting frogs and pitched a tent near the dock on the North Fork River, a short way downstream from the Lake Norfork Dam.

It was the third cast when the line just started reeling out. The drag was pretty tight, but the fish took line pretty fast, said Manley.

Manley doesn’t know how long it took him to catch the fish, but says he smoked two cigarettes during the battle.

The fish was 39 inches long and had a girth of 27 3/4 inches, according to Jim Lowe of the state Game and Fish Commission. Lowe said the fish, a male, between 15 and 20 years old, was weighed and certified by Mark Oliver of Cotter, district fisheries biologist for the Game and Fish Commission.

The International Game and Fish Association lists the previous record brown trout at 35 pounds, 15 ounces. It was caught in Argentina in 1952, according to Jim Lowe of the state Game and Fish Commission.

Manley was using corn and marshmallows on a No. 8 treble hook, Lowe said. He was fishing with a five-foot ultralight rod and reel and six-pound test line.

The Arkansas record for a brown trout was 33 pounds, 8 ounces, caught in the White River in 1977, Lowe said.

″What accounts for the size, very simply, is that the White River and that little jog (of the North Fork) is just a superb trout river,″ Lowe said.

He said the commission puts more than 1 million trout a year into the area. ″When more are put in than taken out, it gives them a chance to grow,″ he said.

″The best thing about all this is the trout fisherman who are calling to congratulate me. My phone’s just been ringing off the wall,″ said Manly.

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