Thursday, October 20, 2011
Greg Myerson with his new world record 81 pound 14 ounce striped bass.
It's Official - Jersey Shore Loses Striped Bass Record to Connecticut
- By William Kelly
Jersey Shore Loses Striped Bass Record to Connecticut - By William Kelly
After holding the striped bass world record for over a half-century, Jersey Shore fishermen have reluctantly relinquished the title to a Connecticut fisherman who is just as passionate about the sport.
Not your typical weekend fishermen who enjoy being out in the sun and on the water with their kids and a line in the water, striper fishermen are a dedicated lot and serious about catching one of the most prized and delicious fish that’s out there.
At first the former record holder, Albert McReynolds of Atlantic City was incredulous, and didn’t believe it was true.
Having held the record for 29 years, McReynolds knew it was a difficult task, but also knew that there were bigger stripers out there. And after being informed of the details he called Greg Myerson and offered his congratulations.
Myerson, a six foot two, 43 year old, 275 pound former college linebacker and dedicated striper fisherman, caught his monster 81 pound 14 ounce striped bass at his favorite fishing hole near Long Island Sound on Thursday night August 4.
He was fishing from his custom built 17 foot wood skiff with his partner Matt Farina, and like McReynolds, they continued to fish some more after landing the record.
Myerson, a union electrician who lives in North Branford, Connecticut, keeps his boat at Pier 76 Marina, north of the Singing Bridge over the Patchogue River in Westbrook. He 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.
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 for bait. 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 he eventually 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 got away.
Since the stripers were running they kept fishing for awhile, and then put the fish on ice and went 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. There was a crowd on hand by the time he got there as the news quickly spread by way of cell phones and twitters.
While Myerson was confident he had the new record, before it could be officially recognized it had to be certified by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) a long and detailed process much like a legal court case. “Approval of a record is a rigorous process," said 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. Only then can it be certified 60 days from the time it was caught.
Myerson used 80 pound test, so McReynolds still holds the record for 20 pound test for his 78 pound 8 ounce striper caught off the Atlantic City jetty during a storm on September 21, 1982. McReynolds used a Penn 710 reel, a Rebel black back 5 1/2 inch silver minnow lure on green Ande 20 pound test line.
Two days after Myerson's catch, McReynolds said that he was considering legal action for fraud.” But after checking out the details the 64-year-old McReynolds later said that “Myerson deserves the honor of the new world record because Myerson is a real fisherman who earned it.”
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.” McReynolds also advised Myerson not to worry about what everybody says. It only matters what the IGFA says and they’ve issued their ruling.
On Wednesday, October 19, the IGFA committee officially certified the new catch – the record now stands at 81 pounds 14 ounces, and the title moves from McReynolds to Myerson and from the Jersey Shore to Connecticut.
Maury Upperman's former world record striped bass "Big Ben" at the wake at Gregorys.
Prior to McReyolds, a previous world record 62 pound 9 ounce striped bass was caught off Island Beach State Park by Maury Upperman of Margate, NJ. Upperman was aboard the boat Rascal, and nicknamed his fish “Big Ben” after the brand name of the bucktail lure that Upperman made. Elmer Gregory, who was also on the Rascal at the time, held a wake for “Big Ben” at Gregory’s bar in Somers Point, where the mount hung above the dining room doors for many years.
Upperman’s records was also broken by others, including Tony Stezko, a surf fisherman who caught a 73 pound striper off the Cape Cod beach in 1981.
When informed of the official IFGA ruling McReynolds said "Good for him. Now people in Connecticut have something to shout about."
[William Kelly can be reached at email@example.com]