Friday, June 3, 2016

Chasing Records

In case you missed the last column, I wrote about an attempt to go after potential record fish during the last weekend. While many of the stories I share involve me getting something that most would not even mention catching or hunting, I am searching for something bigger.

I have experience going after potential records. Sometimes they obscure, sometimes not so much. At some point and time I have held as many as five different bowhunting or bowfishing records for North Carolina. I now have a goal to bring in a record on rod and reel and put the same efforts into the endeavor.

I was hoping for good weather so I could try and put a few days back to back into the quest before leaving on an extended work trip. Mother Nature did not cooperate. I was able to fish for one day, and anticipate going back once again.

I identified the species that has a great potential to not just set a record, but an IGFA world record. The weakfish, or grey trout as the species is also called, is plentiful during this time of year. North Carolina is not known for having the largest of the species feed along our shores, but they are big enough to set an existing record.

I became fond of the grey trout a little over a year ago and have sought the bottom dwellers many times since then. They prefer the deeper water unlike their other coastal cousins, the speckled trout.

Fishing from a kayak, the speckled trout gets a lot more interest, as they can be sight fished in the same areas where red drum are found feeding on schools of bait fish. The grey trout hides along the bottom and near structure.

The first test in my search for a big grey would be to isolate where they are schooled. Other fish feed on the same things the grey trout do, and I would have to find something that the greys would be more apt to attack than the other fish in the area.

The weakfish will eat many things, including cut shrimp. Competing with pinfish, hogfish, croaker, spot, puffers, black sea bass and even sharks makes finding them the hardest part.

In my pursuit, I had three rods extended from the Old Town Predator 13 kayak. One rod had a double drop bottom rig with cut shrimp. With it I was looking for the pan fish along the bottom. The second rod was what you would commonly fish for largemouth bass with, dressed with a weighted silver plug.

The Stingsilver is a favorite for targeting grey trout. I had three with me, one silver, one silver with a bucktail around the hook, and one with the top part painted red and bottom painted white. They come with a treble hook attached to the bottom. I removed the treble and installed a single hook to meet IGFA rules just in case I hooked one big enough.

You see, a lot more goes into a record than just catching it. You have to play by the rules also. And just like with any sport, to play by the rules, you have to know the rules. It is much more than just weighing the fish or measuring the fish. You have catch it the proper way. You have to have the proper equipment to measure the fish. You have to get the appropriate paperwork and photographs.

If any of those not done the correct way, then it will not matter how big the fish is as far as official records are concerned.

As for my pursuit, it will continue. The one day I was able to brave the salt water before the storm rolling in I caught as many grey trout as I ever have in one trip. All were released to grow bigger. And the largest one, well, if it was just another one and a half inches, North Carolina would have had a world record on its shores.

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