“I think I caught a record fish!” Everyone who
works in fisheries hears these words, usually from an excited
angler and often after a trip that ends at night.
best situation for official records entry is with a freshly
caught trophy. However, some anglers don’t begin the
records process until long after the fish was caught. Typically
in this situation, some of the information to register a
fish is missing. And this angler is about to hear some disappointing
news about the ineligibility of his catch.
a catch for the Louisiana record book is not complicated,
but it still has to be done right.
shooting for the Louisiana records should check with the
Louisiana Outdoor Writer’s Association. Visit the
association’s Web site at http://www.laoutdoorwriters.com/index.asp?pg=fr_choose
and you’ll be able to see if your fish is in the Top
10. Categories include: Fly Fishing-Freshwater, Fly Fishing-Saltwater,
Pond-Freshwater, Rod & Reel-Freshwater and Rod &
out a copy of the application form or pick one up from a
regional Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) office.
You will have 60 days after the catch to file the form.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Keep your form with you! Have the fish weighed on a certified
scale (at a fish market, grocery store or a fishing rodeo)
and have two witnesses of the weighing sign the form.
Have a fish biologist certify the species and make sure
the fish shows no sign of illegal gear or mutilation.
A biologist from Sea Grant, LDWF or a college will always
be willing to help here.
Take pictures and measure the fish. See the form for what’s
Fill in the rest of the two-page form. Check off each
rule listed on the back page, such as “Fish was
caught in Louisiana waters…” and “The
submitting angler was the only person who handled the
rod, reel or line while the fish is being hooked, played
or landed; one person may assist by using a net or gaff
to land the fish after it has been brought to the side
of the boat.” Some folks aren’t aware of this
rule, which is similar to the IGFA requirement. If you
think you may want to enter a big offshore catch, don’t
take turns on the rod!
Send your completed application, photographs and $25 application
processing fee to the chairman of the Fish Records Committee
of the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association:
P.O. Box 8571
Clinton, LA 70722-8571
with the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) is more
complicated. This is the organization that keeps worldwide
gamefish records. You’ve probably heard about the
IGFA line-class divisions that are challenging for anglers
who are trying to catch the largest possible fish on the
lightest possible line. Their record entry requirements
can be found at http://www.igfa.org/BookRule2004.pdf.