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Want to be a record breaker?

By John DurrantNZ Fishing World
Want to be a record breaker?

Many fishos would love to bag a world record fish but there’s a misconception that it’s something only big game anglers can achieve. As John Durrant discovered, records are achievable for anyone willing to put the work in.

The whole idea of a world record fish evokes black-and-white images of gnarly looking fullas staunchly showing off a giant game fish at a marina. At least, it always has for this writer. But that is completely wrong. Today’s generation of record breakers tend to be just as interested in conservation as they are in bragging rights. 

There’s one Kiwi couple in particular, Scott and Sue Tindale, who are nothing short of record-breaking storm troopers. This incredible team has more than 160 world records between them. 

As amazing as that figure is, perhaps even more surprising is that many of these are line-class and length records on fish that even the novice angler can catch. Scott and Sue took out around 70 records this year alone and the majority of these were caught in the Hauraki Gulf. These were a mixture of line-class and length records on species such as snapper, kahawai, albacore and skipjack.

Getting started

Before we can run, we have to learn to walk, as the old adage goes. We want to grab ourselves a record but there’s certain things that must be done well in advance of actually targeting the record. First up, get yourself joined up with an International Game Fish Association-affiliated club.

If you’re not sure which one is closest to you, the friendly bunch at the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council can help you. 

Technically, you can actually apply for IGFA membership at the time of your record application but it would be wise to get signed up sooner rather than later. 

So now you’re a member, you’ll want to target your record. Most people start by grabbing themselves a copy of the New Zealand Sport Fishing yearbook as it’s packed with records, vacant records, rules and regulations not to mention claim forms for your catch.

Conservation is just as important as records for Scott Tinsdale.

What to target

The choices are pretty limitless in terms of which fish you want to target but when you’re starting out, the obvious ones would be line-class records for common species, for example kahawai. 

Preparation is key. The appropriate tackle is critically important. 

It’s a serious business, being a record breaker, so you have to make sure that the line you’re using is going to be acceptable to the IGFA. The line will be examined by the IGFA, which will strength test it to make sure it complies, for line-class records. If it proves to be over test then the record could be void.

Fish caught, now what?

This is where it can get very tricky as all record fish should be weighed on scales that have been checked and verified for accuracy, so this is ideally going to be at a fishing club.

The angler, weighmaster, boat captain if applicable, and witnesses must complete the application for a world record.

It also has to be submitted with acceptable photos of the fish, the tackle used, the scales used to weigh the fish and the angler with the fish. If everything checks out and once the record is processed, you can finally call yourself a record breaker!

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