Muskie anglers enjoy rare world-record spree

Matt Forjohn poses with 51.18-inch muskie he thought would land him a world record. Photo by IGFA
Matt Forjohn poses with 51.18-inch muskie he thought would land him a world record. Photo by IGFA

When the giant muskie caught by Matt Forjohn last week taped out at 130 centimeters, or 51.18 inches, the angler was sure that he’d soon be owner of a new world record.

The December 2 catch, on the St. Lawrence River out of New York, exceeded the existing length record by two centimeters, and Forjohn adhered to International Game Fish Association rules.

An IGFA spokesman even implied that everything seemed to be in order, and said the catch was under world-record consideration.

But then came the unexpected twist. According to an IGFA announcement issued Thursday, “a rare thing happened in the world of sportfishing: two different anglers caught potential new all-tackle length record muskies in the same river only two days apart.”

On December 4, Mark Carlson of Rockford, Illinois, battled a muskie for 15 minutes on the St. Lawrence. It measured 132 centimeters, or just a hair under 52 inches (bottom photo).

Mark Carlson poses with 52-inch muskie that probably will set a new world record. Photo by IGFA
Mark Carlson poses with 52-inch muskie that probably will set a new world record. Photo by IGFA

Making this story more bizarre is that Carlson is the current record holder for a 128-centimeter muskie he caught in 2011 on the Ottawa River.

So a likely scenario is that the IGFA will approve Forjohn’s catch, because it received his paperwork first, briefly giving him the record. But the IGFA probably will then approve Carlson’s catch, giving the record back to him.

The IGFA is currently referring to both catches as “potential world records,” but that’s only because it has yet to complete an approval process that generally takes a few weeks.

[Related: angler grinds out Goliath catch]

Both anglers are being lauded for participating in the IGFA’s fairly new length-record program. It was launched two years ago as a means of encouraging anglers to release their catches after a quick measurement.

The long-standing weight-record program, unfortunately, requires fish to be weighed on a certified scale. To do this, potential record catches in almost all cases are killed and brought to a marina or official weighmaster.

For the sake of comparison, the all-tackle world record for heaviest muskie is a 67-pound, 8-ounce specimen pulled from Wisconsin’s Lake Court Orielles in 1949.

Passionate muskie anglers have for decades been in pursuit of that record.

The muskies caught by Forjohn and Carlson were estimated to weigh about 55 pounds, making them among the largest muskies ever caught.

The best part of this story, and muskie anglers are sure to agree, is that both are still in the river, and are likely to be significantly larger the next time they’re caught.

That is, if the  muskies are caught again.

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