Wright explained that he and his son, Jake, usually fish Willow
Springs along the Mogollon Rim a few times a year, but after
"turning the golden age of 55," he bought a home in Sun City and has
been busy remodeling it, so he had not had an opportunity to get out
for some time.
Wright fished near the dam, and both he and his son caught a few
good ones. He used green-colored Power Bait on 6-pound test line
with a 4-pound leader and a 1-ounce slip sinker. He said the large
slip sinker lets him cast a long way to reach the deeper portions of
the lake, and the lighter leader allows the bait to float up off the
"About 11 o'clock, we decided it was time to go, but wanted to make
just one or two more casts before leaving," Wright said. "I cast out
and was just putting the rod down when it hit. It didn't hit hard or
anything, but when I set the hook and felt the big fish, I said
It was quite a fight on the light fishing line. "It almost stripped
all the line off the reel twice. I didn't try to horse it. I just
tightened the drag a little and hoped I could tire it out."
The monster fish put on a show and jumped out of the water a couple
of times. "I was looking down at my reel and didn't get a really
good look at the fish when it jumped, but my son did and said, 'Dad,
that's a really big fish.' I felt lucky just to see it but knew I'd
never land it," Wright said.
The Wrights didn't have a net. Another angler fishing nearby brought
over a net, but it was a small trout net that was not nearly big
enough for the huge fish on the end of his line. After a 30-minute
fight, Wright finally eased the big fish into shore and his son
reached down and grabbed it by the gills.
Wright brought the big fish to the Arizona Game and Fish Department
headquarters to be weighed. Department biologists say the fish could
be as young as five years old, but is probably seven-plus years of
age. He is having the record rainbow mounted.
Curiously, Wright checked the solar tables for the best fishing
times on Sept. 30, and the best times were 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. "I
guess you never know. I was just in the right place at the right
time," Wright said.
Check out the other
Arizona Fishing Records