ANGLERS on the Clarence River have given the name 'Phar Lap' to a huge fish thought to be a groper, which has defied efforts to land it during the past few weeks.
The fish has been hooked many times but has always broken the heaviest tackle used by anglers.
Oyster Channel is 'Phar Lap's' home, and tales of his exploits have spread so far that the area has become a hunting ground for keen anglers.
Mr Harry Biffin has had the most thrilling encounter with the fish, which experienced fishermen believe weighs more than three hundredweight. Mr Biffin hooked the monster when fishing from a boat and was hauled half a mile up the Clarence River, from the mouth of Oyster Channel to a cane wharf, before his tackle vanished.
It is thought 'Phar Lap' has a mate, because a Grafton High School teacher, Mr Frank Wilcock, who saw the boat being dragged through the water, said yesterday that a second angler hooked another huge fish at the same time and his tackle was broken.
Mr B J Page, a member of the Clarence River Anglers' Club, said last night that 'Phar Lap' would not bite on wire. Only gut or nylon lines would attract the fish and these did not have sufficient breaking strain to hold it.
Another angler said that 'Phar Lap' had been hooked mostly with prawn bait and that live bait would not attract it.