Truth be told, the international Largemouth Yellow Fish record gets smashed on a regular basis. The only glitch is that few anglers in South Africa know about the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) and even fewer know how to submit an entry for a record fish.
The current IGFA world all class record for LM Yellows stands at 9.52kg’s, precisely 21 pounds. There are no line class records or limitations on fishing styles. The record cries out to anglers of all genres.
The IGFA, with head offices in Dania Beach, Florida, USA, remains the gate keeper for record fish worldwide. The organization maintains the most reliable and comprehensive registry for record fish anywhere.
SA Anglers should get to know the IGFA. The organization remains the most recognizable authority in the world for record fish. Check them out online at www.igfa.org
Inclusion in the IGFA World Record registry remains an honour. Rules, regulations and qualifications for entry are stringent. The good news is that anglers who catch a record fish and meet the qualifications do not have to be a member of IGFA, or any other organization, at the time they catch a record fish.
“An angler can catch a Largemouth by fly fishing, spin fishing, trolling, or any legal means to capture a world record,” says Eugene Kruger, South Africa’s IGFA Representative, IGFA International Committee member and Managing Editor of THE BANK ANGLER magazine.
THE LARGEMOUTH YELLOW FISH
Often identified as the Orange-Vaal Yellow Fish, they are an indigenous species and the largest freshwater scaled fish in South Africa. Although the IGFA record stands at 9.52kg the South African record has been recorded at a whopping 22kg’s.
Largies are found naturally throughout the Orange-Vaal River Catchment systems. This includes both the Vaal and Orange Rivers and dams such as, Sterkfontein and Vanderkloof. Largemouth Yellow Fish are considered ‘endangered’ due to declining water quality and must be safely released.
Many prominent anglers suggest the LM should be elevated to status as the premier game fish of South Africa due to the fact they are natural predators, indigenous to this country and worthy game fish at every level. Additionally, Largies are available to all anglers. Fly fishers have great luck and perhaps, make up the largest contingent of followers. Other anglers pursue them with spinning tackle, trolling, casting from a boat or sight fishing along the shoreline.
The prime river fishing season for LM Yellows occurs during the winter months but they are caught year around in the dams.
Johan Jansen, fishing legend and owner of Rhino Manor Guest Lodge in Vanderkloof town, caught a specimen of 12.2kg while fly fishing in the Orange River, below the dam. Johan said a visitor at his lodge caught a LM Yellow of 11.5kg’s in Vanderkloof Dam and was able to certify the weight, making it the official lake record.
Johan hosts many anglers at his guest house and is a great source of help and inspiration to anglers new to LM Yellow fishing.
Anton Hartman, a fly angler from Vereeniging seeks out LM Yellows in many places around South Africa. He has spent a lot of time casting large streamer type flies in large river systems throughout South Africa. Two of his favourite destinations are the Vaal and the Orange Rivers.
This experienced angler has taken more than his share of potential world records and many others knocking at the door. Anton’s latest trophy was a river fish over 25 pounds that easily exceeds the current record.
“There are a lot of big fish in the lakes, but they are easier to catch in the rivers (while fly fishing),” he says.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU CATCH A POTENTIAL WORLD RECORD
When it comes to LM Yellow Fish the application process is simple. Since LM Yellows are native to only South Africa there are no line class record opportunities. Only one category is available, ALL TACKE WORLD RECORD, based solely on weight of the fish.
The first thing to do is take lots of photos. The IGFA demands photos of the fish for species identification. Make sure you take enough angle shots that there is no question regarding identification. Make sure you, the angler, are photographed with your trophy catch. It is required.
The IGFA requires photos of the rod and reel used to catch the fish and the scale used to weigh the fish. These are minimum requirements. You may wish to take additional photos of length and girth measurements, witnesses and anything else that could expedite authentication.
The fish must be weighed with a certified scale and if weighed in a net or sling the weight of that object must be deducted. The fish must be weighed on land – not in a boat.
If the hand scale used to weigh the fish is not certified it must be certified as soon as possible by a qualified, accredited organization. An official report of the findings must be submitted with the IGFA entry form and if the scale weighs heavy, the difference must be subtracted.
Collect any and all witness information. Ensure you have contact information for your boat partner on the day of catch. The IGFA asks for two witnesses, so it would be wise to comply. However, it may not be possible to have two witnesses, and you are not precluded from submitting an application.
An official entry form must be completed, signed and a Commissioner of Oath needs to notarize the document. The form and accompanying information must be mailed to the IGFA.
To obtain an IGFA Record Application, contact BANK ANGLER editor, Eugene Kruger at email@example.com or contact the IGFA directly via email.
Although it may seem complicated, most of these rules are common sense practices to authenticate any world record catch.