Whether you call them stripers, striped bass, rockfish, or linesiders, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more popular and revered saltwater game fish. These iconic fish can be targeted in the surf, shallow bays, rips and around structure, and can be caught with lures, flies and natural bait. Their hard fights, willingness to take a variety of natural and artificial baits, and good table-fare make the striped bass one of the most highly sought-after game fish species in North America.
A stroll through the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame reaffirms their popularity amongst angling’s elite, with prominent names like Frank Woolner, Lefty Kreh, Joe Brooks and C.M. Rip Cunningham, who dedicated much of their lives to fishing for or writing about striped bass. Much like the largemouth bass, part of what makes the striped bass popular is the many ways we can target them. Million dollar boats and high-tech tackle are not required, which is evident by the fact that the largest stripers ever recorded by the IGFA were caught from shore or in small boats and using basic tackle.
This compilation of world records highlights a handful of the most impressive IGFA World Records set for striped bass, and clearly illustrates just how diverse fishing for them can be.
Gregory Myerson’s All -Tackle & Men’s 37 kg (80 lb) Line Class World Records
The current IGFA All-Tackle World Record striped bass of 37.14 kg (81 lb 14 oz), was caught by angler Gregory Myerson on August 4, 2011, while drifting Long Island Sound with a live eel. The IGFA's approval of Myerson's catch marked the end of Albert McReynolds' 29-year reign as All-Tackle World Record holder (see McReynolds’ catch below) for this prestigious saltwater species. In addition to now holding the All-Tackle record, Myerson's catch also landed him the IGFA Men's 37 kg (80 lb) Line Class World Record. “After a 15-minute fight, I got the striped bass close enough to the boat for netting,” Myerson shared in the testimony accompanying his world record application. “The fish was bigger than I thought. I slipped on eel slime and banged my ribs against the gunwale of the boat. But it didn’t matter. The monster fish was mine. At this point it was about 8 p.m.; I put the fish into the hold and fished the rest of the tide. As I fished, I repeatedly peered into the hold and asked myself ‘is this striper really that big?’ The following morning, I brought the striped bass to Jack’s Shoreline Bait and Tackle to be weighed. The fish measured 54 inches in length and tipped Jack’s digital scale at 81.88 pounds. It really was that big.”
Albert McReynolds’ Men’s 10 kg (20 lb) Line Class World Record
Albert McReynolds made history and national headlines when he landed this massive 35.6 kg (78 lb 8 oz) striper on the night of September 21, 1982, while fishing from the Vermont Avenue Jetty in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It took McReynolds nearly two hours to subdue the record fish in the midst of a Nor’easter after it hit the Rebel 5.5-inch black and silver lure he was casting. Although Gregory Myerson’s catch now stands as the new All-Tackle record, McReynolds still holds the IGFA Men's 10 kg (20 lb) Line Class World Record for his famous catch.
Robert Rocchetta Men’s 24 kg (50 lb) Line Class World Record
In 1981, Robert Rocchetta, of Long Island, New York, set both the All-Tackle and IGFA Men’s 24 kg (50 lb) Line Class World Record with this incredible 34.47 kg (76 lb) striped bass. At the time of catch, this striper was the largest known to have been caught on rod and reel, and was taken off Montauk, Long Island, New York a few hours before dawn. Rocchetta was fishing from his 24-foot boat Rainbow II about a mile and a half east of Montauk Point and was using 50-pound test line and a live eel as bait. Rocchetta told the local newspaper how a line tangle developed on his new reel, with which he was unfamiliar, and how the big fish made four runs that took the line to the tangle but did not part it. ''She literally towed the boat,'' Rocchetta said. Witness to the catch, Eddie Tirtak of Port Jefferson, Long Island, mentions in his record application testimony, ''She was in perfect condition. She looked like a tuna. Hard, solid as a rock, with a tremendous girth.''
Steve Thomas’ Men’s 6 kg (12 lb) Line Class World Record
Steve Thomas was fishing from the surf of Bradley Beach, New Jersey, US the evening of November 1, 1979, when he landed this 30.27 kg (66 lb 12 oz) striped bass. The fish was enticed with a rigged eel, and Steve worked the fish up and down the beach for over 45 minutes before finally subduing the massive striper. He then brought the fish to Fisherman’s Den in Neptune, New Jersey, the following morning for an official weight and confirmation of the potential record. The fish measured 54.5 inches long and had a 30.5-inch girth!
James Sheffield’s Men’s 1 kg (2 lb) Line Class World Record
James H. Sheffield set a goal to achieve an IGFA Line Class World Record and he did just that on December 30, 2007, with a giant 22.93 kg (50 lb 9 oz) striped bass on fishing line as thin as hair. Sheffield set out that morning equipped ultralight 1 kg (2 lb) test gear, with hopes of catching a striper larger than the current record at the time which stood at 9.72 kg (21 lb 7 oz). Sheffield hooked up around 9 a.m. and, over the next hour, had the massive fish boat side on four separate occasions. Fishing with very light line, it was difficult for James to turn the head of the large bass. Finally, after another powerful run, he was able to turn the fish’s head and set his hands on the fish. Once landed, Sheffield brought the fish to Long Bay Pointe Marina in Virginia Beach, Virginia, US for an official weight that would eventually earn him the IGFA Men’s 1 kg (2 lb) Line Class World Record.
Rosa Webb Women’s 15 kg (30 lb) Line Class World Record
A newspaper clipping from Rosa Webb’s world record application mentioned that in the summer of 1960 there were apparently a run of large stripers being encountered on the offshore bars of North Truro, Massachusetts. Quite a few of the surf-fishing regulars had launched their small aluminum boats and found them, and estimates were that there were about a dozen fish taken from that school weighing in excess of 50 pounds. Female angler Kay Townsend, who fished frequently with her husband, took a 28.80 kg (63 lb 8 oz) striper, which at the was thought to be the largest striper ever landed by a female angler. That title might have stood longer, had it not been for her fellow angling friend, Rosa Webb, who hauled in this 29.25 kg (64 lb 8 oz) fish only an hour later on August 14, 1960. Both fish were taken on live mackerel. Webb’s catch earned her the Women’s 15 kg (30 lb) Line Class World Record for the species.
Asie Espenak Women’s 24 kg (50 lb) Class World Record
More than half a century ago, angler Asie Espenak, caught this 29.03 kg (64 lb) striped bass to set the IGFA Women’s 24 kg (50 lb) Line Class World Record that has stood since June 27, 1971. Espenak caught her world record striper while fishing out of Sea Bright, New Jersey, and needed 30 minutes to subdue the fish after it ate the menhaden she was using for bait. Espenak’s striper is also the second heaviest striper ever recorded by a female angler with the IGFA.
Emme Golinski Women’s 3 kg (6 lb) Line Class World Record
On September 4, 1995, Emme Golinski landed this 21.2 kg (46 lb 12 oz) striped bass to set the IGFA Women’s 3 kg (6 lb) Line Class World Record. Emme was fishing aboard the Stovemaker off Fisher’s Island, New York, when the record bass struck. The impressive fish ate a live menhaden and she fought the fish for nearly 30 minutes before landing it. The fish was then taken to Cove Bait and Tackle in Westerly, Rhode Island, for an official weight.
Emme Golinski Women’s 4 kg (8 lb) Line Class World Record
Emme Golinski landed her second IGFA World Record striped bass, a massive 25.92 kg (57 lb 15 oz) fish, on September 24, 2004, to set the IGFA Women’s 4 kg (8 lb) Line Class World Record. Fishing in the same location as her previous record, set nearly nine years prior, Emme hooked the record striper off Fisher’s Island, New York, and battled the fish for 20 minutes on the light line before it was netted. Once again, she took her potential record to Westerly, Rhode Island, to be weighed on an official scale. What a rare situation to catch two amazing light tackle records nearly nine years apart!
Ted Carroll’s Male Junior World Record
The night of July 26, 2010, will be a night that Ted Carroll, 15 years old at the time, will remember for the rest of his life. Carroll was fishing with his cousin when he landed this 27.22 kg (60 lb) striped bass to set the IGFA Male Junior Record. Ted and his cousin were fishing on a 15-foot Boston Whaler off Fisher’s Island, New York, when the record fish ate a live eel. Ted brought the fish to the boat in just 10 minutes and his cousin helped him bring the record striper on board. The next day, they took the fish to Ford’s Lobsters in Noank, Connecticut, for an official weight and learned of their potential record. The fish measured 52.5 inches in length, with an impressive 32-inch girth.
Beryl Bliss’ Men’s 6 kg (12 lb) Tippet Class World Record
On July 28, 1973, Beryl Bliss landed this 29.25 kg (64 lb 8 oz)) striped bass to set the IGFA Men’s 6 kg (12 lb) Tippet Class World Record. Beryl was fishing the famous Smith River in Umpqua, Oregon, when he landed this beautiful bass on a homemade bucktail fly. The record fish measured out at 49.5 inches, with a massive 32.75-inch girth. While mainly thought of as a species found in the Atlantic Ocean, the IGFA currently has three Tippet Class World Records for striped bass from the Pacific coast of the United States, two of which (including Bliss’) were caught in the Smith River. Beryl’s fish is also the largest striped bass ever landed on fly.
Richard C. Keatley’s Men’s 10 kg (20 lb) Tippet Class World Record
While fishing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in eastern Virginia, on the night of December 17, 2009, Richard Keatley landed this 23.27 kg (51 lb 5 oz) striped bass to set the IGFA Men’s 10 kg (20 lb) Tippet Class World Record. Richard was working the shadow lines of the bridge using a black Clouser minnow, when the record fish engulfed the fly. After fighting the fish for 30 minutes between bridge pilings in the darkness of night, Richard was finally able to bring the fish to the net. After contacting the local IGFA Representative Dr. Julie Ball, Keatley headed over to Long Bay Pointe Marina in Virginia Beach, Virginia, for an official weight. In his own words “what a night, and what a fish.”