Like so many other fish stories, this tale is about the one that got away — only in this case, it’s about a $1 million prize that slipped off the hook.
Rodney Ply of Arkansas caught a whopping 68-pound striped bass that was worth $1 million if approved as a world record by the International Game Fish Association.
The fish — at least a half-pound bigger than the world-record 67.5-pounder — was big enough, but the homemade lure he used to catch the monster fish at Bull Shoals Lake in Arkansas was deemed illegal by the IGFA.
Consequently, no world record and no million-dollar prize.
“Oh I tell you what … it’s sickening, it is,” Ply told KATV.com. “I don’t know … it’s just really sickening. It is. I just … I can’t get over it really.”
Ply’s remarkable fish story began about six months ago when he registered for the Mustad’s “Hook-a-Million” contest. Use a Mustad hook to catch a state record and it would be worth $100,000; a world record, $1million.
Ply caught the striped bass on Feb. 18 and submitted his catch to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; the state record is 64 pounds, 8 ounces. But in May, the commission disallowed the catch as a state record because an Arkansas wildlife official did not witness the weighing and the scale was not certified.
Undeterred, Ply submitted his catch as a world record to the IGFA, the keeper of world records. For more than two months, Ply waited for a decision.
The IGFA response came a week and a half ago: The fish was big enough to become a world record, the scale having been verified, but the lure with multiple Mustad hooks and attracting blades (known as an umbrella rig or Alabama lure) violated IGFA equipment rules. So, sadly, no world record for the landlocked striper, unless IGFA, on Ply’s appeal, reverses itself, which is highly unlikely.
“I don’t know what the odds are of winning the lottery,” Ply’s fishing partner Chad Whited had told KATV.com, “but it’s gotta be about the same for catching a fish like that.”
Unfortunately for Ply, his “lottery ticket” didn’t pay off.
Photo from Rodney Ply.