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The narrative below describes a striper fishing trip in the Basin that resulted in an incredible world record fish. It took place on June 17th, 2010: yes I know I should have brought it to your attention earlier but I had to wait until I had sufficiently climbed down off cloud 9 to express my thoughts coherently. I also had some problems jumping through the registration hoops required for permission to post on the new site (thank you Dave for sorting them out). Some of you may find what I am about to disclose a bit fantastic " just some wild fishing tale". Well it is indeed. But rest assured, every word is the unvarnished truth. So here goes…..

At 78 pounds, the world record striper is as impressive as they get. But imagine catching a hundred pounder. Or consider Nova Scotia's only record, that magnificent 1496 pound bluefin tuna. Now how would you feel if you landed a 2000 pounder?

The sad truth is that I did not catch either a record striper or tuna. However I did catch a comparably majestic fish of another species that exceeded the official, all tackle, IGFA record by proportionately a similar amount. In other words I utterly and comprehensively destroyed the official world record. This is how it happened.

Accompanied by my buddy Paul, I headed out to a favourite striper haunt, a place that 3 years ago proved very productive. The last couple of years, however, have been anything but with nary a striper showing itself at all. However sheer inertia, combined with that unconscious but irresistible force that elevates hope over experience, directed us back. This time I did not have my usual shortish, stout rod, a rod well suited to this steeply shelving spot where tug-of-wars with skate are more of a concern than casting for distance. Instead I had a 12 foot beachcaster that was in the truck from use elsewhere the day before, a pole that can launch a big bait 120 yards. And though I did not need to do that here, nonetheless that's exactly what I did, just for the heck of it, heaving out half a mackerel (a frozen tinker from last year) towards the horizon. I then sat back and opened a beer.

Almost straight away I had a nibble. However as I was using a big 8/0 inline circle hook I waited for whatever was at it hopefully to run. Eventually it did. I tightened up the line setting the hook and immediately could feel the weight of a truly big fish. While some large skate will similarly run, violent headshakes suggested this was no skate. But it lacked the speed and sheer athleticism of a striper. Indeed, though dogged and initially powerful, it was rather slow and quick to submit. After just a couple of frenzied minutes, then, I was able to tighten the drag on my 20 pound main line and slowly haul it to shore.

As soon as it showed itself it I knew it was a record. Over the years I have landed and put on the scales several that came within a couple of pounds of the official record, and had quietly speculated that the Bay might well be the ideal place to produce a record fish. And this beast now rolling at my feet was much, much bigger than anything I had previously seen.

My celebrations, however, were nearly cut short. As I bent down to land her, she bit through the 80 pound mono leader freeing herself. But in I went and grabbed first a pectoral fin - that seemed extended almost in an act of waving goodbye (wholly premature) - and then her tail, and hauled her ashore, fully conscious of the considerable angry weight wrestling in my hands.

As luck would have it we had no scales but both Paul and myself have each had several bass over 20 pounds so we knew what a 20 pound fish feels like. And this was a good 20 pounds and more. Without any shadow of a doubt. So what was it you may ask?

Well take a look at the IGFA records and you will see hundreds of entries, mostly on species of which you may never have heard, the 'aracu fat head' or 'vimba', for example. So attention naturally gets focused on the few marquee species - striper, Atlantic salmon, brook trout, blue marlin, smallmouth bass, etc. . Featuring prominently amongst anyone's considered list of signature species must surely be the spiny dogfish. Its wonderful symmetry, those beautiful, almost radioactive, glowing green eyes, more than make up for its sad looking overbite. And we don't have to travel to the end of the earth to catch them.

The record is 15.75 pounds, taken in Ireland in 1989 by German trophy hunter Horst Muller. Unfortunately for the spiny dogfish's future survival, they do not reach sexual maturity until they are 16-18 years old, and, at 22 months, they have the longest gestation period of any animal known, exceeding even the elephant. This combination of circumstances makes them very vulnerable to overfishing, indeed in Europe, where they have long been sought after for the table (their fillets make truly excellent fish and chips), they are now classified as an endangered, protected species. My monster was clearly carrying a bellyful of pups, so keeping her would place responsibility for not one but maybe a dozen deaths on my already overburdened conscience. And so I returned her gently to the muddy waters of the Minas Basin, to go forth and multiply.

It was only afterwards that I thought about what could have been - the sponsorship offers, the paparazzi, perhaps appearing on Oprah and certainly 'Live at Five' - all forsaken in the name of conservation.( Perhaps, less nobly, my inaction was additionally motivated by the hassle of navigating the paperwork needed to claim a record and the prospect of luring to the Basin's already overcrowded fishing sweet spots legions of German or Irish trophy hunters, trying to recapture their title). But I know the truth, and so does Paul, my only witness, but as good and honest a witness as you can get.

So, Herr Muller, you may have the fame, the bounteous recognition, and I don't begrudge you this at all. For in my heart I know that your paper fish can't hold a candle to my Moby ****. And that is glory enough for me.
 

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Wow. Great Story ! I think you did the right thing, I know I would have to think for a minute before releasing a world record. Did you get chance to snap a pic ?
 

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Wow. Great Story ! I think you did the right thing, I know I would have to think for a minute before releasing a world record. Did you get chance to snap a pic ?
Nice im still waiting on my first muddy one .. though im sure it could be a blast hookin one of them fish .

Great Story
 

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thats awsome!
 

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Great story jeda, was a really good read


I'm not sure what I would have done.. considering I wasn't aware that they are endangered I probably would have kept it lol, you did the right thing!
 

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Good read!! Well done!! Good on you!!

Regards.....
 

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That was a great read and cograts on a catch of a lifetime.A true sportsman doesnt need to kill a fish just for bragging rights or just to prove "mine was bigger than yours " you know you have the record and its refreshing to hear that that is good enough for you and no need to hang it on the wall .Awesome stuff!!
 

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Nice!...I was unaware of them being endangered...There's millions off the shore in s.w. nova. Can't find a place to set long line gear to keep clear of the lately.
 
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