Many anglers dream about having a big fish accepted as a saltwater world record by the International Game Fish Association, headquartered in Dania Beach, Florida. Luckily, it happens regularly in the wide world of angling. IGFA has just released its latest listing of fortunate folks who have caught fish suitable to be recognized for their skills by the organization.
Mangrove (Gray) Snapper
Captain Ed Walker set another IGFA record for boating a heavyweight mangrove (gray) snapper that qualified as the longest in the All-Tackle Length Fly Records category for the species. The oversize fish measured 20.87 inches long and was caught on February 22, 2022 off Tarpon Springs, Florida, which is where Walker guides from in his boat “Long Gone.”
Walker caught his snapper on a hand-tied “Murder Bunny” streamer fly, using a Sage fly rod and Abel reel with Cortland line. The fish was released unharmed, after being officially measured and photographed when placed against a special IGFA measuring device.
Such devices are required by IGFA for fish to be recognized by the organization for the comparatively new “length” world record division, says Zach Bellapigna, Angler Recognition Coordinator for IGFA.
“The roll-up boards are designed to be a consistent tool for anglers to measure their fish,” he says. “IGFA sells the durable boards for about $55 and many fishing camps, guides and anglers with boats they regularly use keep them handy to quickly measure a catch. Fish can be released easily without much handling of them to assure their survival.”
Captain Walker was on a tear last February off Tarpon Springs, catching three All-Tackle Length Fly Records for snapper. They included his gray snapper detailed above, and a pair of red snapper fly records, including his first caught the same day as the gray snapper record.
Two weeks later Walker broke his own red snapper All-Tackle Length Fly Record with a fish measuring 27.5591, a record that still stands.
Another impressive catch just approved by IGFA is a huge great barracuda caught by young 8-year old Hans Yuque-Zepeda off Miami on March 26, 2022. The fish measured nearly four-feet long at 45.67 inches and is the new All-Tackle Length World Record great barracuda.
Hans was fishing with his father Lorenzo when his barracuda struck a ballyhoo bait, and after a short battle the record fish was boated. With the help of his dad, Hans recorded the proper measurements of the ‘cuda on his official IGFA measuring device and safely released the fish.
Hans used a Star Rod with Penn reel spooled with 65-pound Suffix line.
The third marine fish record qualifying for IGFA recognition for May is a 16-pound Gorean snapper caught April 11, 2022 by Leon Weeks. He used fly tackle fishing in Gabon, located along the Atlantic coast of central Africa. Captain Arno Mattee fishing off Port Gentil led Weeks to his snapper, which hit a “Whittaker’s Wonder” fly.
The rather rare Gorean snapper caught by Weeks is an IGFA All-Tackle Record for the species. It was weighed on certified scales on shore and measured 32.5 inches long, with a 21-inch girth.
Weeks used a Loomis 12-weight fly rod and a Mako 9600 fly reel with Varivas fly line to make his remarkable catch.