To say that the story behind Vonada Ranck's big trout
is quite a fish tale is to put it quite mildly. The 22 -inch, 7-pound
brook trout Ranck hauled home has been certified as an official
record for the species by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
That in itself is a remarkable feat. Ranck's catch, though had more
to do with his own two feet.
pursuing trout in Fishing Creek near Tylersville, Clinton County when
he noticed fish hitting something small and white on the surface.
Unable to make a positive identification on the white objects, Rank
decided to improvise. Trouble is, the only thing the 44-year-old
angler from Watsontown had even vaguely resembling the center of the
trout's attention were the white socks he was wearing. A few snips
and a little improvising later, Ranck hit the water again with a
small piece of sock attached to a bare hook.
The rest is the stuff of legend. The fish began to hit, and the game,
as they say, was afoot. Later on Rank improved upon his design at
home, substituting wound white thread for the bit of sock. He
continued to fish with this homemade lure and on June 8, it paid off
with a "brookie" that measured in at nearly (OK say it together) two
The former brook trout record was established in 1994 at 6 lbs, 9.6
oz. That catch was made by Shawn Keener of Ridgway.
Commission biologists have determined that the fish was a brood trout
from the agency's Tylersville Fish Culture station located just
upstream. The trout escaped during the massive flooding that occurred
over the winter.
Pennsylvania certifies state records based on total body weight.
Potential record fish must exceed the established mark by at least
one ounce, as weighed on a certified scale. To be considered for
state record certification, a fish must be caught using legal means,
in season, from Pennsylvania waters open to the public without charge
or fee. Fish taken from farm ponds, fee-fishing lakes, ponds or
streams or in waters restricted to use by club members or their
guests do not qualify. A biologist or Waterways Conservation Officer
from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) must examine
the fish. The PFBC is the only entity that can certify an official
state record fish in the Commonwealth.