Merwin: How's Your Record Collection?

Our ongoing posting of pending record catches from the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) started me wondering how interested the angling public really is in setting fishing records. Certainly the IGFA offers lots of opportunity. Check out the latest gallery of recent record contenders (including this record Schnieder's big eye from Hawaii).

There are the well-known all-tackle records, which are the biggest ever of a particular species in fresh- or saltwater. Then there are line-class records for the biggest catches in each of several line-test categories, along with fly-rod records for various leader-tippet strengths. There are record categories for junior anglers, and also IGFA record categories by state. That's a lot of records.

Most anglers know that setting a new all-tackle world record for largemouth bass would be a truly big deal, mostly because of all the hype and marketing buzz associated with bass fishing. But in checking my thick copy of the IGFA's "2009 World Record Game Fishes" book, I see that 12 out of 15 possible IGFA state records for my home state of Vermont are vacant. I could almost guarantee setting 10 of those IGFA Vermont state records in one week next June. Then again, I don't really care about that. Does anyone?