In case you missed it, the epic 55" taimen on the cover of Fly Fisherman was caught on a Cheeky 475. The huge arbor, lightweight design, and truck-stopping drag proved to be more than adequate to bring this beast in. That's exactly why Ross Purnell, editor of Fly Fisherman, chose the 475 out of his expansive quiver to take on one of these Mongolian monsters.
Considered to be "the largest salmonidae in the world", the taimen has become a legendary fish. A lifespan up to 50 years and an average size of 27 to 46 inches is reason enough to consider these beasts a once in a lifetime catch. However, tales of taimen larger than 230 pounds and 83 inches long coupled with explosive strikes make this fish a dream for any avid fly fisherman. As Jeff Forsee, Head Guide at Fish Mongolia says, "there's almost nothing you can do to keep your fly away from (taimen). Once they are locked on to a target, they will find it and crush it".
Hunting taimen isn't for the faint of heart; Ross and Jeff finally found this taimen after a week of non-stop fishing during a two-week, 100-mile journey along the river in partnership with the Taimen Fund in order to put together a feature article for the magazine.
Photos by Bill Owens