This really was the one that got away

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A long-suffering Queenstown angler has finally landed his prize fish – 11 years after giving it to a taxidermist to stuff and mount. 

Conrad Morganty, 40, sent his 6.3kg rainbow trout to Dunedin taxidermist Gary Pullar in November, 1998. 

Morganty’s half-hour battle to wear down the Kawarau River whopper is now a distant memory – but it was nothing compared to the time it took to wear down Pullar. 

“I was patient with him – I wanted my fish back. I must have rung him three times a year every year.” 

Finally, 11 years, one month and 17 days later, Morganty got his mounted fish back. 

The immaculately stuffed trout arrived two days before last Christmas. 

But it’s taken till now to get fishing mates Mark Jenkins and Allan Rannard – who helped land the fish – back together for a reunion photograph. 

Morganty says he has no idea why it took the taxidermist so long to stuff it other than Pullar was busy. 

“Every time he came up with an excuse that seemed reasonable.” 

The trout is now mounted at Morganty’s Lake Hayes home and “it’s actually bigger than I thought”. 

Morganty paid a $250 deposit upfront but the remaining taxidermy fee was waived. 

Mountain Scene made repeated calls to Pullar but his phone was busy all yesterday.