IGFA Representative Meredith McCord
IGFA Representative Meredith McCord of Houston, Texas was born into a fishing family and has turned her lifelong passion of fishing into both a successful career and rewarding lifestyle. “Both sets of my grandparents fished, so I grew up fishing with my parents just like they did. My dad put a fishing pole in my hand before I could even walk.” McCord grew up fishing her family’s local farm ponds outside of Houston, but also spent a significant amount of her adolescence in Lake of the Woods, Canada, where her grandparents had a summer log cabin. Loaded with northern pike, muskie, walleye and largemouth bass, McCord recalls the summers she spent at Lake of the Woods, where she “cut her teeth” on fishing. “I would finish dinner and my parents would allow me to go out in my nightgown and fish until it got dark. I was really crazy about fishing and my parents helped foster that, especially my father who was my main fishing partner throughout his life.”
McCord spent her childhood fishing with her family from fresh to saltwater in location like Nestor Falls Ontario, CA and Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Fishing with and learning from professional guides from around the world – and being lucky enough to talk with fly fishing legends like Lefty Kreh – is something McCord truly values.
After graduating High School and College, McCord had her first introduction to fly fishing which became her preferred technique of angling. “While on family vacations to Belize, I started seeing more and more fly anglers coming down. I was fishing with spinning gear but I was very intrigued with fly fishing. So after graduating college, I spent the summer in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where I learned how to fly fish – at least the basics anyway. I took what I learned in Jackson and started applying it in the different places I fished – bass ponds in Texas, flats in Belize and Lake of the Woods, Canada.” McCord’s passion for fly fishing continued to grow and thanks to her success as a small business owner, McCord began traveling to new angling destinations where she continued to learn from experienced guides and anglers, who she considers mentors that helped her get to where she is today. “Fishing with and learning from these guides from around the world – and being lucky enough to talk with fly fishing legends like Lefty Kreh – is something I really value. I’m always trying to learn more, and I also love to teach what I’ve learned to others.”
McCord became an IGFA Representative in 2013 and was drawn to the organization for one reason in particular – chasing world records. McCord has since compiled 157 IGFA world records (primarily on fly tackle) and is one of the top record producing anglers in the history of the IGFA. “I was fishing Deep Water Cay, Bahamas, and one of the guests asked me if I had ever thought of chasing IGFA world records. I had never even heard of them, so he pulled up the IGFA website and we started looking at potential record opportunities. I loved the challenge then and I still do today. It’s not for everyone, and it’s not for the many, but I love to play the game. McCord’s first record, a 32-plus pound red drum on 16-pound tippet that she caught on December 1, 2012 while fishing Venice, Louisiana, set in motion a quest that, at the time, was not even on her radar – setting 100 world records. “I had never thought of trying for 100 world records until my dad got sick,” McCord recalls “he got such a kick out of me chasing and breaking records that I told him I’d get 100 world records for him. I set record number 100 on Father’s Day, seven months after he passed away, fishing a bass pond on our family farm where he had taught me to fish. That record was very special to me.”
One of McCord's most recent and prestigious IGFA World Records is her 18.54-kilogram (40-pound 14-ounce) redfish on 4-kg. (8-lb.) tippet that she caught with a fly she tied. Her guide Camp Walker shares the credit with encouraging her throughout her valiant pursuit.
Driven by her love of fishing, the challenge of chasing world records and her lifelong connection to the sport, when McCord’s not chasing records she enjoys giving back to the angling community by educating and inspiring others to take up fishing and chase records, especially female anglers. “I love teaching people and sharing my story with people to inspire others. So my goal is to give inspiration and encouragement to anglers, just how my parents and grandparents inspired me.” McCord has recently turned her passion for fishing and teaching into a career as a fishing trip hostess and a lodge consultant. McCord has recently started hosting her first “Ladies Only” fly fishing trips where she hosted 12 female anglers of all skill-sets and used her personal experiences to help them improve their skills and better enjoy the sport. “Though a bit apprehensive, It was a blast hosting this women’s-only trip. Every evening over cocktails, I was able to share my experiences and knowledge with this group of ladies. It was so fun to see them get so excited and a feeling of independence the sport of fishing gave them. Many came to improve their skill-sets for their sons, husbands and boyfriends and came away more empowered, having met other women that also love to fish. Not to mention seeing them all have fun and catch fish was really rewarding to me.” Two more trips are in the works already for 2020.
McCord hopes that her story can inspire people to get involved in fishing and to pursue their passions, whatever they may be.
In addition to hosting trips, McCord stays very active attending various speaking engagements at fishing clubs, festivals, schools and on fishing podcasts. “I tell my story to inspire people to get involved in fishing and to pursue their passions, whatever they may be. Specifically, practicing best catch-and-release practices is something I always push when working with new anglers. I am proud to say that nearly all of my 157 IGFA World Records have been released alive and I think it’s very important for all anglers, regardless of experience level, to have a respect for the fish.”
McCord ardently promotes best catch-and-release practices and has released nearly all of her 157 IGFA World Records.