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September 21, 2007

Will the Record Fall?

It's been almost 23 years since Albert McReynolds caught his 78 1/2-pound striped bass, claiming the IGFA all-tackle record. Some predict that the record could fall this year, so we asked a few of the best striper fishermen in the country, including McReynolds, to weigh in.

NO: "It's not going to happen. We've already begun to experience a decline of 50-pound fish, let alone 60- and 70-pounders. Where those few big fish are going to show up is a wild card. But if the record was to fall again, it would happen in a very standard place; somewhere known for large fish. Places like Cuttyhunk Island and Montauk."

Frank Daignault
Author of Eastern Tides and Striper Surf.



YES: "My record could fall at any time. My son and I have seen fish that we estimate at over 125 pounds. I've hooked four fish bigger than my record between Ocean City and Brigantine, New Jersey. My record will be broken at night in less than ten feet of water by a persistent guy who puts in his time. He'll deserve it too! I'll be the first one to shake his hand and congratulate him."

Albert McReynolds
Current IGFA all-tackle world record holder with his 78 1/2-pound bass.



YES: "The record will absolutely fall in Montauk. The big fish are there, there's no doubt about it. I know for a fact that we have 80-pound stripers in those waters. I've had them up to my boat, but lost them for one reason or another. Big fish like that dump the reel or run you down into the rocks."

Captain Jimmy George
Noted Montauk trophy striper fisherman.



YES: "Do I think the record will fall this year? It could. Last season I had two fish on that both felt huge and they both hit in the exact same area. I mostly fish on Cape Cod and I think if the record is to fall on the Cape, it will depend on how the bait situation works out. The size of the bait on hand is very important. Last year the bigger bait only made it up to the Connecticut and New York area. When the Cape has the bait we will have those big fish. Hopefully, I'll catch it."

Tony Stetzko
Former IGFA world record holder for a 73-pound bass on 20-pound line.



YES: "Being on the water almost every day, my experience tells me that it may happen. We're headed back to an instant replay of the '70s and early '80s when there were plenty of big bass. There are also more people on the water now with better craft. The record will probably fall in the summer when the fish are feeding on the rocks at night with the moon in August or maybe September. The habitat around Sluiceway, off Montauk, is a prime location for the new world-record striper. The problem is that the topography of the area is so rough that it is difficult to land a big fish without a team that knows what's going on. You have to remember, an 80-pound striper would be about 30 years old. It will have encountered boats and hooks before."

Bob Rocchetta
Current IGFA line-class record holder - 76-pound bass on 50-pound line. Former all-tackle record holder.



YES: "It wouldn't surprise me if the record fell. I don't have a crystal ball, but with the increasing weight of the fish we've been seeing, I can see the record falling within the next few years. I wouldn't put it past the Block Island Sound area to be the place where it happens."

Emme Golinski
Current IGFA line-class record holder - 46-pound bass on six pound line (shown with pending IGFA record for 58-pound bass on six pound line).



NO: "You're dreaming! I just don't see a new world-record fish around the corner. It's not near happening. There was a surge of bigger fish last year and I think that was the peak. In my wildest dreams I don't think it's possible to top that fish any time soon."

Nick Karas
Author of The Complete Book of Striped Bass Fishing.



YES: "I'm surprised that the record hasn't been broken. There are record-breaking fish out there now. Make no mistake about it. Whether the places and techniques most anglers use interests them is the question, but someone in the near future is going to do what many think is impossible and break the 80-pound barrier."

Gary Caputi
Salt Water Sportsman's Offshore Editor.