How They Caught the (Pending) World Record

By Kirk Deeter It may not be the most coveted fishing record in the books ... but it's close. On June 5, Adam Konrad of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, landed a pending International Game Fish Association (IGFA) all-tackle world record rainbow trout that tipped the scales at a hefty 43.6 pounds. Konrad, 26, who was fishing with his identical twin brother, Sean, caught the monster in Lake Diefenbaker in southern Saskatchewan using a 4-inch Mepps Syclops while fishing from the shore. He was using six-pound-test line. The trout had a 34-inch girth -" big enough to fill out a pair of Levi's.Field & Stream Online Editors
When validated by the IGFA, Konrad's trout will eclipse a world record that had stood for 37 years, a 42-pound 2-ounce rainbow taken by David White in June 1970, in Bell Island, Alaska. That's half as old as the fabled bass record (22-pound 4-ounce largemouth caught by Georgia farmer George Washington Perry in 1932) that spawned the counterculture of record bass chasers. The Konrads' pursuit of the world record rainbow is no less a story of utter obsession and dedication, transposed to trout. "We basically trained for this, it was a life pursuit and it took a lot of sacrifice," said Adam, who, like his brother, is an auto mechanic in Saskatoon. "My girlfriend broke up with me because she couldn't handle me being out on the lake all the time. But it's okay, I have another girlfriend now, as well as the world record." "We basically felt like nobody was putting the effort into fishing the lake to its full potential, so we said, -¿what the hell, we'll just go for it," added Sean.Field & Stream Online Editors
Half the battle of landing a record fish, according to the Konrads is knowing where to look; the other half is knowing how to hook and fight them. There's no doubt that Lake Diefenbaker, a long impoundment created by the Gardiner Dam on the South Saskatchewan River, is a veritable trophy factory, for both rainbows and walleyes. The Konrads have fished the lake for most of their lives, and soon zeroed in on a spot that consistently produced big trout. "It's our one true hobby," said Adam. "We spent thousands of hours learning the lake and the fish. People asked us, -¿why do you keep fishing?' -¿How can you go out and get skunked on 20 trips in a row?' and the reason was we knew there were big fish there if we could learn how to hook them."Field & Stream Online Editors
Indeed, the brothers dialed in their approach, and soon earned regional acclaim as the "Fishing Geeks" who caught monster rainbows. Adam caught the standing 12-pound line class record rainbow (33 pounds 6 ounces); while Sean holds the 8-pound line class mark (34 pounds 8 ounces), and will soon submit another application for a 50-pound line class record (27 pounds). All of these fish were caught on Diefenbaker. To underscore the lake's prolific ability to produce large rainbows, Adam described a recent outing where he and Sean took some anglers to their spot and landed 14 trout, all over 20 pounds, the largest being 30, in three hours of fishing. The Konrads figured a year ago that they had a legitimate chance to break the world record, but Adam admits it happened sooner than either of them imagined. "Last year in May, we started hooking some big ones, we landed a 30-pounder which was our first Provincial record, and thought -¿wow, we could maybe do something here," said Adam. "So we spent more time learning where the fish like to sit, and when we caught one, we'd look at the hook in its mouth, and try to figure out how they liked to grab the baits. The trout are pretty stupid when you figure out what they like to do and how they like to eat. Even the big ones."Field & Stream Online Editors
Adam hooked the pending world record in water 20-25 feet deep, in a spot where the trout were "just chowing on baitfish." It was late afternoon. Sean was nearby fishing for walleye when Adam tied into the big trout and started yelling. "I felt the pressure on the bottom, and then its tail started shaking," described Adam. "To be honest, a 30-pounder is a better fight. This one rolled a lot. When they get that big, they roll instead of jump. And they twist. I have had other big fish like this on, but they got off by twisting the line. I could feel this one rolling and twisting. I just wanted to get it in. When I did, I knew it was (a potential world record)." By the time Sean arrived on scene, Adam was cradling the trout with both arms. Because the brothers release almost all the fish they catch, often without lifting them from the water, Adam's cradling the fish told Sean this trout was a contender. "We had just caught and released a 35-pounder, so as I was walking up to him I wondered what he was keeping it for," said Sean. "But then I got closer and knew it was big. We weighed it on our fishing scale right there and it was over 43, so I said, -¿yep, that's a keeper.'"Field & Stream Online Editors
The brothers took the trout home, put it in on ice that night, and the next morning weighed it on a certified scale at a local butcher shop. When validated, the record will go down as one for the ages, but the brothers do not expect this one to stand for another 37 years. "I think if this one gets broken, it will be here, at Lake Diefenbaker, by me and my brother," said Adam. It's hard to doubt them. After all, they do seem to be playing in a league of their own when it comes to targeting trophy trout. And they are dialed in on the spot, which, incidentally, they are not giving up, though they have been remarkably open with all other information. You'll have to find their "honey hole" along the nearly 500 miles of Diefenbaker shoreline on your own. "We really just don't want a bunch of people following us, and then killing and keeping too many fish," explained Adam. "It could all get wiped out in a matter of weeks. These fish can keep growing if we protect them."Field & Stream Online Editors
Whether or not there's a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow is still TBD for the Konrads. But they have started the process of creating their own guide service. Something tells us it wouldn't be hard for the boys to generate a healthy clientele of people willing to check out the fishing around Saskatoon, especially now that they've planted Saskatchewan firmly in the trout record books. "We can't promise records, or lots of fish," said Sean. "But I'm pretty sure we could get you a 20." (For more information see www.trophytroutguide.com)Field & Stream Online Editors
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