On the morning of Saturday, March 27, 2010, Sean Konrad pulled a 25.2 pound burbot from the waters of Lake Diefenbaker in Saskatchewan, Canada. Pending certification, the fish, a freshwater cod (Lota lota), will be recognized by both the International Game Fish Association and the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame as the new all-tackle world record for the species.
This is Sean’s third all-tackle world-record fish from Diefenbaker. He also caught the old IGFA world-record burbot (his latest catch broke his own record), and landed the current all-tackle world-record rainbow trout last summer.
Burbot are also know as eelpouts, lawyers, and by other common names. Konrad caught this one at 9 a.m. in 18 feet of water. “My brother and I came here with the intention of catching a world-record burbot. I specifically drove six hours to the right part of the lake at this time of year because this is when these fish spawn and the big females come to shore to lay their eggs,” says Konrad.
The fish, seen here just moments after the catch, was 41 inches long.
The widest part of a burbot is its upper belly, just behind the gills. The girth of this fish was 24 inches.
Konrad caught the fish using the same tackle he used to catch last year’s world-record rainbow, a 9-foot 6-inch Shimano Clarus spinning rod, an ABU Garcia Cardinal spinning reel, and 30-pound-test Moss Green Spiderwire. His bait was a 6-inch frozen lake herring hooked through the lips with an off-brand 1/0 single hook, and tied to a 24-inch, 20-pound-test Berkley XL monofilament leader. “We like to use cheap hooks because they rust quickly, which we feel gives fish that swallow the hook a better chance of survival after we release them,” says Konrad. The herring was held in place by a 1-ounce pyramid sinker attached to a 1-foot, 12-pound-test mono dropper line that slid freely via a swivel on the main line.
This photo, from March, 2009, shows what a “normal” burbot haul is like for Konrad and his twin brother, Adam. The largest one here is a 15-pounder. Not all their fish are released. “We used to consider burbot a nuisance fish and threw them back, until we learned how to clean and cook them,” says Konrad. Locals used to hold burbot derbies on the ice of Diefenbaker, which the twins and their father used to enter.
This is the average size burbot Sean catches; in this case through the ice. He’s seen here with a friend’s fiance, Bri, and her dog.
A burbot of 14 pounds is considered a trophy. Konrad caught this one while night fishing, which is when he usually targets these fish. The night before landing the record catch, he and his brother fished until 3 a.m. and then napped in the truck until dawn.
This is Sean with the previous International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world-record, a 19-pound, 1-ounce fish he caught from Lake Diefenbaker on March 22, 2008. After his latest catch becomes official, this fish will still hold IGFA’s 16-pound-test line-class record. “But I never really considered this burbot the world’s largest because the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame (NFWFHF) had a bigger one registered,” said Konrad. The all-tackle record according to NFWFHF was a 22-pound 8-ounce brute taken by Vaughan J. Kshywiecki in Little Athapapuskow Lake, Manitoba, Canada, on April 2, 1994.