An Alabama resident has reeled in a 70-pound striped bass that shattered a 54-year-old state record and could land the angler in the book of world records for the heaviest striper ever caught in a landlocked fishery.
James R. Bramlett, 65, reeled in the behemoth on the Black Warrior River on Feb. 28.
Bramlett told Joe Songer of AL.com that he credits his wife, Janice, for urging him to go fishing. She was scheduled to undergo a hospital procedure in a few days and would need him to be around and take care of her.
The catch, weighed on a certified scale, exceeds the previous record, set in 1959, by 15 pounds. (Bramlett and his catch are pictured at right.)
“It’s definitely uncommon,” Heath Haley, a biologist for Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, told Field & Stream. “This fish certainly, in my opinion, was an anomaly. It’s a very fat, chunky fish.
“The previous record being 55 pounds, the fact that it hasn’t been broken since the 1950s, it’s just incredible that not only he broke it, but he shattered it. You just don’t see them that big that often.”
The striper measured 45.5 inches long and boasted a girth of 37.75.
According to Songer, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has already approved the catch as a state record. If approved by the International Game Fish Association it’ll become a new world record (this process can take weeks or months).
The current IGFA record for landlocked stripers is a 67-pound, 8-ounce specimen landed in 1992 in Los Banos, California.
Bramlett said he saw the huge fish roll on the surface, so he tossed a bait and soon hooked up. The battle lasted 20 minutes and as soon as Bramlett could secure the catch, he telephoned his wife to share the news about the memorable catch–and, presumably, to thank her for persuading him to spend the day fishing.
–Image showing James R. Bramlett and his record striped bass is courtesy of AL.com/Joe Songer
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