The International Game Fish Association recently added a 100-percent, all-release world record category. Unlike the typical world records, where a fish must be caught and weighed on land, this new category is based on length rather than weight. IGFA’s All-Tackle Length category will make 60 freshwater and 67 saltwater species eligible for new world records while requiring the fish to be returned to the water alive after measurement. With 127 new world record vacancies available at the beginning of 2011, the IGFA’s World Records office received a flurry of competition for these records.
“The new All-Tackle Length record category is another great means of recognizing angler achievement and also has a strong conservation message,” says IGFA World Records Coordinator Jack Vitek. “While the IGFA does not require a fish to be killed for traditional weight category records, and many fish are indeed released alive, this is the first IGFA record category to adopt an all-release format.”
IGFA Launches Length World Record Category
Anglers pursuing a length record must utilize a standard measuring device (available on IGFA’s online Store). According to the official IGFA Rules and Requirements for All-Tackle Length records, the fish “must be measured at the site of capture and released so that it swims away on its own and in good condition.”
To facilitate healthy release, the document also includes tips on best release practices and prohibits fish entered for length records from also being submitted for traditional weight records — another deterrent from keeping the fish out of the water any longer than necessary.
“Catch-and-release fishing is becoming increasingly popular worldwide,” stated IGFA Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser. “We know recreational anglers are passionate about conservation, and this new record category reflects their dedication to conserving game fish.”
To remove your fish from the water to document it for record purposes, anglers should use either hands or a knotless, rubberized landing net to minimize slime and scale loss. Lip-gripping devices may be used to help subdue fish. However, large fish should not be hoisted vertically out of the water, as this can cause damage to jaw muscle and bone as well as to internal organs. The best method for removing fish from the water by hand is to grip the fish or the lower jaw and support the fish’s underside. Again, the point is always to hold fish horizontally and not vertically.
Photographs included with applications must contain the following information.:
1. The full length of the fish on the measuring device clearly showing the position of the mouth and tail. The fish may be held in position, but must be done in a manner that does not obscure the view of the fish on the tape.
2. A close-up showing the position of the fish’s nose and tail on the measuring device.
3. The angler with the fish.
4. The rod and reel used to make the catch.
Considerable time and care should be exercised when releasing fish. Fish should be placed in the water and held by the base of the tail. If the fish does not swim away from your grasp on its own, gently move it forward in the water to get water flowing over the gills. For best results, move the fish in the forward direction only instead of back and forth. A fish’s gills somewhat resemble the pages of a book and are designed for water flow in only one direction. Moving the fish in a slow circle or gently towing it behind the boat will accomplish this.
The new IGFA All-Tackle Length record category began accepting applications on January 1, 2011 and the Official IGFA Measuring Device is now available for sale through the IGFA’s website and major fishing retail stores. The new length category will be featured in the upcoming 2011 World Record Game Fishes book with more information on rules, requirements and eligible species. To learn more contact Jack Vitek via [email protected] or 954-924-4246.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Can I use my own ruler or measuring device for these records?
A: No. In order to create a standard, all fish must be measured using the official IGFA measuring device.
Q: If the fish I catch is also big enough to qualify for a line class or All-Tackle category that requires me to weigh the fish, can I do so and still submit this as an All-Tackle Length record as well?
A: No. In order to ensure that fish are released quickly and in the best condition possible, fish entered for All-Tackle Length records may not be weighed and submitted for other IGFA record categories.
Q: Why are there only a subset of species eligible for this category? I fish primarily for billfish and some tunas and see that they are not on the list.
A: This category is designed for species that are amenable to being caught, measured and released in short order and in good condition. Large species such as most sharks, billfish and tunas are not good candidates for this.
Q: Do I need to submit a line sample for All-Tackle Length records?
A: Yes. It is mandatory to submit a line sample (with double line and leader still connected, if used) for all record categories.
Eligible Species and Minimum Lengths for All-Tackle Length Records
Albacore Thunnus alalunga 61 cm
Arawana Osteoglossum bicirrhosum 41 cm