Monday, August 15, 2011

Did Jersey Shore Lose Striper Bass Record?

Did The Jersey Shore Lose the World Striper Record to Connecticut?

For the past five decades South Jersey Shore fishermen have held the last two striper bass world records caught by Maury Upperman of Margate and Albert McReynolds of Atlantic City, both seasoned striper fishermen.

Now however, another seasoned striper fishermen, Greg Myerson of Connecticut, has laid claim to the title.

Myerson, a six foot two, 43 year old, 275 pound former college linebacker hauled in a 88 pound 1 ounce striper bass while fishing with his friend Matt Farina on his wooden 17 foot skiff in Long Island Sound on Thursday night, August 4th.

Myerson, a union electrician who lives in North Branford, Conn., fishes every night he can, usually at his favorite spot, a fishing hole with big underwater rocks, best at slack tide at the high water mark when the moon is high and there’s a wind.

Myerson keeps his boat at Pier 76 Marina, north of the Singing Bridge over the Patchogue River in Westbrook, Connecticut.

Using a Quantum Cabo reel and a short, stout St. Croix six-and-a-half foot rod, Myerson used a three-way swivel rig with a big eel. As they were drifting, Myerson said he first felt a powerful strike, but lost half the eel, so they began to drift again.

"I expected the fish would be still there, especially if it was hungry,” he said. Then it struck again and ran the reel. “Crashing the surface, its dorsal fin was so big it looked like Batman's cape.”

As he was fighting the fish, Meyers slipped on some deck eel slime and bruised his ribs on the side of the boat, but the fish eventually gave and they boarded it with a net held by
Farina, who also caught a 48 pound striper that night.

A broken leader in the fish’s mouth indicated that another unlucky angler had almost snagged the record but the fish had got away.

Since the stripers were running they kept fishing for awhile, and then put the fish on ice and retreated to a local seafood shack for a meal and to celebrate. Having weighted the fish at 82 pounds aboard the boat, he knew he had a big one and called ahead to Jack’s Shoreline Bait & Tackle shop in Westbrook to let them know he was coming in and there was a crowd on hand by the time he got there.

“Approval of a record is a rigorous process," says Jack Vitek, International Game Fish Association (IGFA) records coordinator. The appropriate documents must be completed, and the fishing line and leader used to catch the fish must be tested, as well as the scale on which the weight was certified. Then it can be certified 60 days from the time it was caught.

The IGFA rules for applying for a world record include:
- the fish must be weighed on certified scales;
- an IGFA record application must be filled out and notarized
- photos of the angler and the fish, the scales and the rod and reel must be submitted with the application
- plus samples of the leader and a minimum of 50 yards of the line. They test the line for breakage point to determine line class records.

The current record is still held by Albert McReynolds – 78 pounds 8 ounces, caught on Sept. 21, 1982 during a rainy storm with 25 knot winds and waves crashing on an Atlantic City jetty. McReynolds broke the record previously held since the 1960s by Maury Upperman of Margate, who caught his 62 pound 9 ounce striper nicknamed “Big Ben” in a boat north of Atlantic City, on his own handmade bucktail lure.

According to former Press of Atlantic City sports editor Mike Shepherd “Two days after Myerson's catch, McReynolds called The Press to say that he was considering legal action for fraud.”

But when reached later, the 64-year-old McReynolds said that “Myerson deserves the honor of the new world record because Myerson is a real fisherman who earned it. McReynolds said it is not about the money or honors, but about the joy of fishing. That was his biggest advice for Myerson - just do whatever makes him happy.”

Myerson said that he’s talked to McReynolds on the phone about five times. "He's been treating me with nothing but respect. He told me to lay low for a couple of days. Just enjoy it. He probably is the only person who knows what I was going through.”

Myerson said McReynolds, who spent years defending the catch from others who claimed it was caught by a net and even received hate mail, also advised him not to worry about what everybody says. "Keep fishing, get out of the house, stay focused on fishing," McReynolds said

"Everyone has been pretty cool," Myerson said. "Nothing has changed. I'm just going to keep on fishing. I want to start a company that sells online. It would market T-shirts, caps, fishing rods and maybe reels."

Bill Kelly can be reached at

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