CATCH AND RELEASE FISHING FOR RECORDS: Where there’s a will, there’s a way

While catch and release is mandatory in the All-Tackle Length program, many anglers are making sure their line class and fly rod record catches swim away healthy too! Mark and Charlotte Sampson of Maryland, USA, are avid shark anglers and together hold 12 light tackle and fly records with shark species alone – many of which have been released alive.  Realizing that they must protect the species today in order to fish it tomorrow, the Sampsons have used their ingenuity to develop various methods and devices to accurately weigh their record catches and conform to IGFA Regulations.

Bahamian boat builder and angler Colin Rose shares the Sampsons’ sentiment and has perfected a system of landing, weighing and tagging 90+kg (200+lb) tiger sharks that he submits for light tackle line class records.  He uses a custom-built tripod that supports a certified IWS ScaleMaster II and a heavy-duty cloth harness attached to a pulley system to weigh the fish.  After the weight and the length/girth measurments are recorded, the shark is tagged and gently lowered and released back into the water.  The entire process takes no more than a few minutes.

Increasing numbers of anglers are getting creative to protect the fish they love to catch,and the Sampsons and Colin Rose are two of many examples of anglers catching fish for records and still successfully practicing catch-and-release.  To learn about these catches and to check your catch and release ideas with the IGFA before weighing a potential recordfish, please contact Records Coordinator Jack Vitek at 954-924-4246 or jvitek@igfa.org.

Reprinted by permission ofthe International Game Fish Association from Vol. 74 No. 5 Sept/Oct 2011 ofInternational Angler Magazine. www.igfa.org

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