Who will reel in the next record breaker?

fishing pole

Records are meant to be broken, especially fish records.

Take Ohio’s record fish. There are nearly 50 of them on the official list, an ever-changing tally of the biggest fish that the waters of Ohio can produce.

Well, that’s not true. The record list includes the largest fish caught, measured, weighed, and officially identified. Yep, it’s a lot of hoops for a prospective record buster to jump through, but records, if they are to be broken, deserve to be shoved aside by an unquestionable trophy fish.

Indeed there are records held for the biggest and best of the school. Maybe the fattest, maybe the longest, or perhaps a combination of both of those. But to be sure, the record-setter goes to the heaviest. A single ounce may be the deciding factor.

The Ohio record state record fish list continues to be challenged as potential record fish are submitted by skilled and/or lucky anglers who legally catch what they feel might be a record buster.

The best part of about the Ohio record list is that outside influences play no part. The list is kept by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and monitored carefully by the organization’s Ohio State Record Fish committee.

As mentioned, prospective record fish are judged by weight only, and that weight must be determined on a certified accurate scale. They are also determined to be the correct species by knowledgeable fishery officials.

And, like any record list, each one is subject to change. The only exceptions would be for fish that are no longer found in state waters.

Nine-pound bowfin

Who would have thought the state record bowfin of nearly 8 pounds — a record that stood for nearly 30 years — would ever be beat out, but in 2016, it was bumped by a bowfin in excess of 9 pounds.

And guess what, bowfins, which are not an everyday hook and line catch, are an occasional prey for bowfishers. Go figure.

Young or old

More recently, another record that stood just for just over a decade was knocked off this past summer by a 9-year-old angler who bagged a 1.2-pound green sunfish.

Nothing fancy here, just a kid with a spincaster, a crawler, and a farm pond.

Oh, the ever-changing record list goes on and on, successful entries recognized and hopeful entries rejected.

On the books

Some records will never be broken — probably not, but the word never is nothing more than a maybe and perhaps a challenge. Take the never-to-be-broken 37-pound striped bass record that was taken at West Branch Reservoir in 1993. Or the 31-pound tiger muskie that earned top spot in 2006.

Maybe, just maybe, even though they quit making these artificial, but well-intended, cross breeds long ago, there just might be a leftover giant still roaming those same waters.

Every angler should have a copy of the Ohio record list in his or her tackle box along with the rules and guidelines required for entering a prospective challenger. Go online to the Outdoor Writers of Ohio to see the list.


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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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