IGFA World Record Requirements
Game fish catches can only be considered for world record status if they are caught according to International Angling Rules. Following is information on world record categories, requirements, and procedures for filing claims. An application fee of $50 U.S. for members and $80 U.S. for non-members is required for each claim. All materials submitted become the property of IGFA.
World Record Categories
IGFA maintains world records for both freshwater and saltwater game fish in all-tackle, all-tackle length, line class, tippet class and junior angler categories. In order to qualify for a record, a catch must be a minimum of 1 pound (.453 kg) in weight, and must outweigh the existing record by the required amount or meet the minimum weight requirements, if any, for vacant records.
No applications will be accepted for fish caught in hatchery waters, sanctuaries or small bodies of water that are stocked with fish for commercial purposes. The intent of this rule shall prevail and IGFA retains the right to determine its applicability on a case by case basis. The catch must not be at variance with any laws or regulations governing the species or the waters in which it was caught.
When an additional species of game fish is made eligible for IGFA world records, the effective date will be announced. Fish caught on or after the effective date will be eligible for records. Announcement of an additional species in the World Record Game Fishes book or in other IGFA publications will be considered proper notification in lieu of any other notice.
If an angler submits more than one application for the same record, caught on the same day, only the heaviest or longest of the fish will be accepted.
All-Tackle world records are kept for the heaviest fish of a species caught by an angler in any line class up to 130 lb (60 kg). Fish caught on lines designed to test over the 130 lb (60 kg) class will not be considered for record claims. All-tackle record claims are considered for all species of fish caught according to IGFA angling rules.
Applications for species not currently included in the IGFA line class and tippet class listings must meet the following criteria:
1. The fish must represent a valid species with a recognized scientific name.
2. The fish must be a species commonly fished for with rod and reel in the general area where the catch is made.
3. The fish must be identifiable based on photos and other supporting data presented with the application.
4. The fish must be considered “trophy-sized.” A rule of thumb is that the weight must fall within the top half of the estimated maximum weight of the species.
All-Tackle Length Category
All-Tackle Length world records are kept for the longest of each eligible species caught by an angler in any line class up to 60 kg (130 lb) and released alive. Fish caught on lines designated to test over the 60 kg (130 lb) class will not be considered for record claims.
All-Tackle Length record claims are only considered for the eligible species listed on page 184, caught according to IGFA angling rules.
Junior Angler Categories
Junior Angler world records are kept for the heaviest fish of the eligible species, in any line class up to 60 kg (130 lb) in smallfry and junior categories. Smallfry records are kept for both male and female anglers, ages 10 and under. Junior records are kept for both male and female anglers, ages 11-16. Each species recognized for line class records and tippet class records is also recognized for Junior Angler records.
Line Class and Fly Rod Categories
Line Class world records are kept according to the strength of the line. Fly Rod world records are maintained according to tippet strength. Each species recognized for line class records is also recognized for tippet records. Records are kept in the following line and tippet classes:
With the exception of all-tackle claims, line classes are limited for many species. Following are the maximum line classes acceptable for world record purposes in each species category:
Line Classes Tippet Classes
Metric U.S. Customary Metric U.S. Customary
1 kg 2 lb 1 kg 2 lb
2 kg 4 lb 2 kg 4 lb
3 kg 6 lb 3 kg 6 lb
4 kg 8 lb 4 kg 8 lb
6 kg 12 lb 6 kg 12 lb
8 kg 16 lb 8 kg 16 lb
10 kg 20 lb 10 kg 20 lb
15 kg 30 lb
24 kg 50 lb
37 kg 80 lb
60 kg 130 lb
IGFA tests all line and tippet samples submitted with world record claims in accordance with the metric line class designations, which vary slightly from the standard U.S. customary designations. For example, the U.S. customary equivalent of 4 kilograms is 8.81 pounds. Thus, line designated by the manufacturer as 8 lb class line may test up to 8.81 pounds (4 kg) to qualify for an 8 lb line class record. The U.S. customary equivalents in pounds for the metric line classes are as follows:
Metric U.S. Equivalent
1 kg 2.20 lb
2 kg 4.40 lb
3 kg 6.61 lb
4 kg 8.81 lb
6 kg 13.22 lb
8 kg 17.63 lb
10 kg 22.04 lb
15 kg 33.06 lb
24 kg 52.91 lb
37 kg 81.57 lb
60 kg 132.27 lb
Line and tippet samples submitted with record claims are uniformly tested in accordance with Government specifications, which have been modified and supplemented by IGFA.
Note: IGFA offers line and tippet testing service.
Record Catch Regulations
1. Protested applications or disputed existing records will be referred to the IGFA Executive Committee for review. Its decisions will be final. IGFA reserves the right to refuse to consider an application or grant a claim for a record application. All IGFA decisions will be based upon the intent of the regulations.
2. Any and all claims and/or disputes regarding the IGFA International Angling Rules shall be governed by and construed and enforced in accordance with, the laws of the State of Florida, without regard to such jurisdiction’s conflict of laws principles. In the event that parties are unable to mutually resolve any dispute, controversy or claim arising out of, in connection with, or in relation to the IGFA International Angling Rules, such dispute, controversy or claim shall be resolved by litigation; in that connection, each of the parties to such dispute hereby
(i) irrevocably and unconditionally consents to submit itself to the sole and exclusive personal jurisdiction of any federal or state court located within Broward County, Florida (the “Applicable Courts”),
(ii) waives any objection to the laying of sole and exclusive venue of any such litigation in any of the Applicable Courts,
(iii) agrees not to plead or claim in any such court that such litigation brought therein has been brought in an inconvenient forum and agrees not to otherwise attempt to deny or defeat such personal jurisdiction or venue by motion or other request for leave from any such court, and (iv) agrees that it will not bring any action, suit, or proceeding in connection with any dispute, claim or controversy arising out of or relating to the Angling Rules in any court or other tribunal other than any of the Applicable Courts. Nothing in this Section shall prevent enforcement in another forum of any judgment obtained in the Applicable Courts.
In the event that it shall become necessary for any party to take action of any type whatsoever to enforce the terms of the IGFA International Angling Rules, the prevailing Party shall be entitled to recover all its costs, including attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses, including all out-of-pocket expenses that are not taxable as costs, incurred in connection with any such action, including any negotiations, mediations, arbitrations, litigation, and appeal.
3. When a substantial award is specifically offered for a world record catch in any line or tippet class, only a claim for an all-tackle record will be considered.
4. In some instances, an IGFA officer or member of the International Committee or a deputy from a local IGFA member club may be asked to recheck information supplied on a claim. Such action is not to be regarded as doubt of the formal affidavit, but rather as evidence of the extreme care with which IGFA investigates and maintains its records.
1. Photographs must be submitted by which positive identification of the exact species can be made. Read the rules on photographs at the end of this section, and refer to the Species Identification section in the World Record Game Fishes book to determine which features must show to identify your fish. Applications without photographs will not be accepted.
2. If there is the slightest doubt that the fish cannot be properly identified from the photographs and other data submitted, the fish should be examined by an ichthyologist or qualified fishery biologist before a record application is submitted to IGFA. The scientist’s signature and title (or qualifications) should appear on the IGFA application form or on a separate document confirming the identification of the species.
3. If a scientist is not available, the fish should be retained in a preserved or frozen condition until a qualified authority can verify the species or until notified by IGFA that the fish need no longer be retained.
4. If no decision can be made from the photographs and the angler can provide no further proof of the identification of the species, the record claim will not be considered.
Witnesses to Catch
On all record claims, witnesses to the catch are highly desirable if at all possible. Unwitnessed catches may be disallowed if questions arise regarding their authenticity. It is important that the witnesses can attest to the angler’s compliance with the IGFA International Angling Rules and Equipment Regulations.
Minimum Weight Requirements
(i) For line class categories up to and including 10 kg (20 lb) and all tippet class (fly rod) categories:
The weight of the catch must weigh at least ½ as much as the line class it is eligible for. For example, a fish entered for the 6 kg (12 lb) line class or tippet class category must weigh a minimum of 3 kg (6 lb 9 oz).
(ii) For all line class categories greater than 10 kg (20 lb):
The weight of the catch must be equal to, or greater than the line class it is eligible for. For example, a fish entered in the 24 kg (50 lb) line class category must weigh a minimum of 24 kg (52 lb 14 oz).
1. The minimum acceptance weight for any record catch claim is 1 lb (.453 kg).
Weights needed to defeat or tie existing records
1. To replace a record for a fish weighing less than 25 pounds (11.33 kg), the replacement must weigh at least 2 ounces (56.69 gm) more than the existing record.
2. To replace a record for a fish weighing 25 pounds (11.33 kg) or more, the replacement must weigh at least one half of 1 percent more than the existing record. Ex: At 100 pounds (45.35 kg) the additional weight required would be 8 ounces (226.7 gm); at 200 pounds (90.71 kg) the additional weight required would be 1 pound (.453 kg).
3. A catch which matches the weight of an existing record or exceeds the weight by less than the amount required to defeat the record will be considered a tie. In case of a tie claim involving more than two catches, weight must be compared with the original record (first fish to be caught). Nothing weighing less than the original record will be considered.
4. Estimated weights will not be accepted. (See Weighing Requirements.) Fractions of ounces or their metric equivalents will not be considered.
Time Limits on Claims
With the exception of all-tackle records only, claims for record fish caught in U.S. continental waters must be received by IGFA within 60 days of the date of catch. Claims for record fish caught in other waters must be received by IGFA within three months of the date of catch.
Claims for all-tackle records only are considered for catches made in past years if (1) acceptable photographs are submitted, (2) the weight of the fish can be positively verified, and (3) the method of catch can be substantiated. For catches made in the past, as much information as possible must be submitted on an IGFA world record application form with any additional substantiating data.
If an incomplete record claim is submitted, it must be accompanied by an explanation of why certain portions are incomplete. An incomplete claim will be considered for a record if the following conditions are met:
1. The incomplete claim with explanations of why portions are incomplete must be received by IGFA within the time limits specified above.
2. Missing data must be due to circumstances beyond the control of the angler making the record claim.
3. All missing data must be supplied within a period of time considered to be reasonable in view of the particular circumstances.
IGFA’s Executive Committee will make final decisions on incomplete claims.
1. All record fish should be weighed on scales that have been checked and certified for accuracy by government agencies or other qualified and accredited organizations. Disinterested witnesses to the weight should be used whenever possible. All scales must be regularly checked for accuracy and certified in accordance with applicable government regulations at least once every twelve months. If at the time of weighing the fish the scale has not been properly certified within twelve months, it should be checked and certified for accuracy as quickly as possible. An official report stating the findings of the inspection prior to any adjustment of the scale must be included with the record application.
2. The weight of the sling, platform, or rope (if one is used to secure the fish on the scales) must be determined and deducted from the total weight.
3. At the time of weighing, the actual tackle used by the angler to catch the fish must be exhibited to the weighmaster and weight witness.
4. No estimated weights will be accepted. Fish weighed only at sea or on other bodies of water will not be accepted.
5. Only weights indicated by the graduations on the scale will be accepted. Visual fractionalizing of these graduations is not allowed. Any weights that fall between two graduations on the scale must be rounded to the lower of the two.
6. IGFA reserves the right to require any scale to be re-certified for accuracy if there are any indications that the scale might not have weighed correctly.
Note: IGFA offers a scale testing service for members only.
Preparation of Claims
To apply for a world record, the angler must submit a completed IGFA application form, the mandatory length of line and terminal tackle (described below) used to catch the fish, and acceptable photographs of the fish, the tackle used to catch the fish, the scale used to weigh the fish, and the angler with the fish.
The official IGFA world record application form or a reproduction must be used for record claims. This form may be reproduced as long as all items are included.
The angler must fill in the application personally. IGFA also recommends that the angler personally mail the application, line sample or fly leader and photographs.
When making any record claim, the angler must indicate the specified strength of the line or tippet used to catch the fish. In the cases of line class and tippet class records, this will place the claim in an IGFA line or tippet class category (see World Record Categories). All lines will be examined by IGFA to verify the specified strength of the line. If the line or tippet over tests its particular category, the application will be considered in the next highest category; if it under tests into a lower line or tippet class category, the application will not be considered for the lower line class. The heaviest line class permitted for both freshwater and saltwater records is 60 kg (130 lb) class. The heaviest tippet class permitted for fly fishing records is 10 kg (20 lb). If the line or tippet over tests these maximum strengths, the claim will be disallowed.
Extreme care should be exercised in measuring the fish, as the measurements are often important for weight verification and scientific studies. See the measurement diagram on the record application to be sure you have measured correctly.
The angler is responsible for seeing that the necessary signatures and correct addresses of the boat captain, weighmaster and witnesses are on the application. If an IGFA officer or representative, or an officer or member of an IGFA club is available, he or she should be asked to witness the claim. The name of a boatman, guide, or weighmaster repeated as witness is not acceptable.
The angler must appear in person to have his application notarized. In territories where notarization is not possible or customary, the signature of a government commissioner or resident, a member of an embassy, legation or consular staff or an IGFA officer or International Committee member may replace notarization.
Any deliberate falsification of an application will disqualify the applicant for any future IGFA world record and any existing records will be nullified.
Line or Tippet Sample
All applications for fly fishing records must be accompanied by the lure, the entire tippet, and the entire leader.
All other applications must be accompanied by the entire leader, the double line and at least 50 feet (15.24 meters) of the single line closest to the double line, leader or hook. All line samples and the leader (if one is used) must be submitted in one piece. If a lure is used with the leader, the leader should be cut at the eye attachment to the lure. If backing is used, a sample of at least 50 feet (15.24 meters) must be submitted.
Each line sample must be in one piece. It must be submitted in a manner that it can be easily unwound without damage to the line. A recommended method is to take a rectangular piece of stiff cardboard and cut notches in two opposite ends. Secure one end of the line to the cardboard and wind the line around the cardboard through the notched areas. Secure the other end, and write your name and the specified strength of the line on the cardboard. Any line sample submitted that is tangled or cannot be easily unwound will not be accepted.
Photographs showing the full length of the fish, the rod and reel used to make the catch, and the scale used to weigh the fish must accompany each record application. A photograph of the angler with the fish is also required.
For species identification, the clearest possible photos should be submitted. This is especially important in the cases of hybrids and fishes that may be confused with similar species. Shark applications should include a photograph of the shark’s teeth, and of the head and back taken from above in addition to the photographs taken from the side. Whether the shark has or does not have a ridge between the dorsal fins should be clearly evident in this photograph.
In all cases, photographs should be taken of the fish in a hanging position and also lying on a flat surface on its side. The fish should be broadside to the camera and no part of the fish should be obscured. The fins must be fully extended and not obscured with the hands, and the jaw or bill clearly shown. Avoid obscuring the keels of sharks and tunas with a tail rope.
When photographing a fish lying on its side, the surface beneath the fish should be smooth and a ruler or marked tape place beside the fish if possible. Photographs from various angles are most helpful. An additional photograph of the fish on the scale with actual weight visible helps to expedite the application.
It is important that we have clear, publishable photographs of the fish and the angler. If you have action shots of the catch, we would like to see them also.
Conversion Formulas for Weights & Measures
Persons submitting world record claims are required to provide the weights and measurements of the fish in the units in which they were taken. The following formulas are provided for your information.
Ounces x 28.349 = Grams
Ounces x 0.02835 = Kilograms
Pounds x 453.59 = Grams
Pounds x 0.45359 = Kilograms
Grams x 0.0353 = Ounces
Grams x 0.002 = Pounds
Kilograms x 35.2736 = Ounces
Kilograms x 2.2046 = Pound
Inches x 25.4 = Millimeters
Inches x 2.54 = Centimeters
Feet x 30.48 = Centimeters
Feet x 0.3048 = Meters
Millimeters x 0.03937 = Inches
Centimeters x 0.3937 = Inches
Centimeters x 0.0328 = Feet
Meters x 39.37 = Inches
1 fathom x 6 = Feet