There is an on-again/off-again debate about fishing according to International Game Fish Association standards that I think can be distilled into two fish catches.
The first comes in the form of the IGFA World Record striped bass caught by Greg Myerson. Myerson was fishing off of the Connecticut coast. Here’s what Myerson said about his 81-pound-14-ounce behemoth striped bass:
“The fish was bigger than I thought. At about 8 p.m. I put the fish into the hold and fished the rest of the tide. As I fished, I repeatedly peered into the hold and asked myself, ‘Is this striper really that big?’”
The second fish represents the flip side of the coin, and that’s Rodney Ply’s catch. Ply was fishing Bull Shoals Lake in Arkansas on Feb. 18, 2012, when he landed a 68-plus-pound freshwater striped bass. The fish broke the state record by more than four pounds. Ply tried to have his fish weighed on a certified scale, and for a variety of reasons it was not weighed with an official Game and Fish Commission witness. Ply planned on entering the fish in the Mustad hook tournament, and if certified he would have netted a million-dollar prize.
Where the debate heated up was when IGFA rejected Ply’s custom-made rig for being inconsistent with its rules. Jack Vitek, the world-records coordinator for the IGFA, said, “We consider your lure to be a spreader bar arrangement. IGFA equipment regulations state: ‘Spreader bars are permitted to be used provided that the actual fishing line is attached to the snap or other release device, either directly or with some other material.’ Since the angler’s line is not attached to a release device so that the hook could be disengaged from the lure arrangement, this lure violated IGFA equipment rules for spreader bars.”
Understanding the fishing regulatory body, the IGFA, is critical for any angler, particularly for those who participate in tournaments. IGFA’s Jason Schratwieser said, “We do far more than just certify records. We establish rules that define fishing.