The World Record Kingfish, that wasn’t!
Back in the mid-1980’s the IGFA opened up the 20lb tippet division for fly fishermen. When a line class opens up there are many more opportunities to set a world record. These fish may not be the biggest or represent the line class that well but they were the first fish to be caught on the open line class.
If your goal as a fisherman is to set a world record this is a golden opportunity to take advantage of an IGFA line class with little or no fish entered. This was our goal as Capt. Greg Poland and I headed out from Key West one calm, clear winter day, those many years ago.
I’ve known Greg for many years and he’s fished with me since he was in high school. We grew up in the same town, Miami Springs, and both had belonged to the Miami Sport fishing Club though not at the same time.
Greg had one specific goal that day and that was to catch a world record fish. There have been many world record fish caught on my boat, some planned and some not, but this trip was planned to fish for a species that could be a quality world record for the newly opened 20lb tippet class. I decided to target kingfish because there were plenty around and we had the right conditions to catch large kingfish on a fly rod.
On the day we were to fish we faced one problem-the night before our trip the NMFS closed the recreational capture of kingfish in federal waters. After conferring with Greg we decided to start in state waters and work our way out trying to find a large kingfish, that was legal to take. Conditions proved tough, so I decide to head west from Key West, to a spot about 30 miles away but well in federal waters. I had reasoned that this spot had other world record opportunities besides kingfish such as jacks and Cobia. Of course, once we anchored up and started fishing, we were covered up with huge kingfish sky rocketing everything we threw in the water. Wasting little time, Greg cast out a large white streamer fly and starting stripping the fly back with an erratic retrieve. The fly didn’t go three feet before a giant kingfish blasted it and went screaming off. After a lengthy fight, Greg worked the fish to the boat and my waiting scale. The kingfish bottomed out the 50lb scale-well over any fish entered on 20lb tippet fly and a great catch on any tackle.
Greg and I now had a decision to make, enter this fish and know we had caught it in closed federal waters or release a potential world record fish that Greg had tried so hard over the years to catch. Greg and I looked at each other and there was no hesitation from either of us, as I released the kingfish to fight another day. We knew what we had accomplished that day and that was good enough. As we headed back to Key West I reflected on how happy I was to have a friend that valued the traditions of fishing and sportsmanship, as much as I did.
Capt. Mark Schmidt is Captain Greg Poland's guide in Key West, Florida,
who will be working along with Capt. Alex Adler, to make up the best guide team in the Florida Keys.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
THE ONLINE FISHERMAN DOT COM
Fighting for your rights to fish
Keep our waters open!