This list of the most recent world record catch photos popped into my inbox the other day, courtesy of the International Game Fish Association. For those not familiar with the IGFA, they’re the official keeper of fish records (including line-class records) from around the world. Looking at this got me wondering about people that qualify for line-class records without knowing what they’ve caught. Me included. Take that giant bluegill I landed last summer on 4-pound-test mono. Was that fish a record? I’ll probably never know, but I bet lots of you can recall similar catches. Take a look for yourselves by clicking through the photos at left. Maybe you’ll see one and say, “hey, I’ve caught bigger.” Maybe you’ll learn about some gamefish species you never knew existed. Perhaps this will inspire you to keep tabs on the leaderboard so you can find your name on it some day. We’ll start with this All-Tackle World Record arawana captured in November, 2007, by angler Johnny Hoffman in Brazil. It weighed 25 pounds, 5 ounces and came out of the Araca River. Courtesy of I.G.F.A.
Records often fall by a matter of ounces. Take this second arawana landed by Gilberto Fernandes in Brazil’s Lago de Reis. It took top honors in the 8-pound line class catagory, weighing in at 9 pounds, 15 ounces. The former 8-pound lince-class record weighed 9 pounds, 11 ounces. If arawana seem like an alien creature, I assure you they’re not as hard to catch in the States as you think. All you need is a tiny piece of shrimp on a tiny hook. Drop this rig in the tank at your local pet shop housing an arawana and you’re all set. That’s right, you’ve seen these fish about 3 inches long in aquarium shops before. They’re usually mixed in with the African chiclids. On the other hand, you can buy one for about $40, let it grow to epic proportions, and take the record that way. Courtesy of I.G.F.A.
Here’s Medellin, Columbia, angler Alejandro Linares holding his All-Tackle World Record caranha pacu. These fish are comparable in fight, shape, and habits to permit you find on tropical saltwater flats. This specimen tipped the scales at 22 pounds, 8 ounce, breaking the old record of 21 pounds, 2 ounces. The fish nailed a spinner in the Rio Tarija in Bolivia. It’s a sweet catch, but to be in caranha pacu country means being in panther country. You won’t find many Bolivian guides that don’t pack some serious heat on river trips. Courtesy of I.G.F.A.
Catfish on the fly? Yeah, there’s an IGFA catagory for that, too. And apparently, J. Parks Rountrey of Mechanicsville, VA, knew all about it. He pulled this flathead catfish out of the James River using a streamer. Sadly though, Rountrey only tied the record for 4-pound tippet with this fish that weighed 29 pounds, 8 ounces. Oddly, the other 29-pound, 8-ounce flathead wrenched in on 4-pound fly tippet also came from the James River. Courtesy of I.G.F.A.
Mullet snapper. Now there’s one you don’t hear too much about. This new women’s 4-pound line-class record was taken off Costa Rica by angler Kamila Hampl. This beast weighed 3 pounds, 13 ounces, crushing the former division leader of 2 pounds, 12 ounces. According to the official IGFA press release on this catch, it took Kamila one hour and fifteen minutes to land this record striped mullet. My money is on typo or pure lack of communication. But If I’m wrong, we either need to get Kamila a BowFlex machine or tighen up her drag a little. Courtesy of I.G.F.A.
Ah, red drum…a.k.a. redfish. One of my absolute favorite shallow-water species to chase. Knowing that these fish burn line and run for the hills, I give Fred Baruth of Colorado Springs, CO, a lot of credit for subduing this 29-pounder on only 4-pound fly tippet. Caught in the waters of Bay Long, LA, Baruth trumped the former top-dog 28-pounder to snag the 4-pound fly tippet record. Courtesy of I.G.F.A.
This redbreast sunfish caught by Dave Chermanski in Florida weighed 1 pound, 9 ounces. It beat the decade-old 8-pound fly tippet record of 1 pound. See, this is what I’m talking about. I’m almost positive I’ve gotten bigger redbreast on lighter fly gear, but who is thinking about IGFA records when you’re fishing for sunnies (other than Dave Chermanski)? Perhaps it’s time to change my attitude. Courtesy of I.G.F.A.
This one I’ve only ever seen in the finest sushi restaurants: the scarlet snapper. A relative of the red snapper found throught the Gulf of Mexico and Southern Atlantic, the scarlet thrives in the depths of the Southwest Pacific. This new 26-pound All-Tackle World Record was bested by Takashi Odagiri in the waters of Japan. It beat out the former record by over three pounds. Courtesy of I.G.F.A.
Okay, props to James H. Sheffield, of Midlothian, VA, for taking this 44-pound, 2-ounce striped bass on 4-pound line to grab the new line-class record. He beat the former record of 40 pounds, 8 ounces that held since 1985. But being a striper nut and a Northeast native, no striper record will impress me much until someone beats the current 78-pound, 8-ounce All-Tackle World Record that has stood since 1982. Perhaps I’m a jerk. Courtesy of I.G.F.A.
You’ve got to love tiger trout. A mix between and brook and brown trout, these freaks are some of the most gorgeous salmonids that swim, in my opinion. I’ve caught a few and cherished each one, but none came close to Dennis Triana’s 4-pound line-class record for 6-pound test. Triana doubled up on the old 2-pound record holder when he landed this pretty tiger on a chartreuse jig in Wyoming’s Salt River. Courtesy of I.G.F.A.
This utsubo was caught in Japan by young angler Yuuma Nishino. At 6 pounds, 11 ounces, it knocked off the current utsubo All-Tackle record by a mere 2 ounces. Considering that the utsubo is one nasty looking bugger, and a fish I didn’t know existed until I saw this photo, there is a very good chance I would have cut the line if I reeled that in for fear of getting injected by it’s poisonous spines or something. Yuuma, you rock, dude! Courtesy of I.G.F.A.
Have you ever dreamed of catching a world record? It may not be as hard as you think. Joe Cermele reports on 11 new (and still uncertified) record-breaking fish from the International Game Fish Association.