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Fascinating fishing facts

The biggest, smallest, fastest, strangest, oldest, coolest and most expensive in the world of fishing

By Keith Sutton/Contributing Writer

This article was published March 2, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

whats-americas-favorite-freshwater-sport-fish-no-other-comes-close-its-the-largemouth-bass

What’s America’s favorite freshwater sport fish? No other comes close. It’s the largemouth bass.

Fishermen always love discussing superlatives. No matter where we are, the conversation is likely to turn to the extreme aspects of fishing. If someone says something, for example, about the biggest this or the fastest that, a wildfire of discussion will almost certainly be ignited. Conflicting opinions will add fuel to the conflagration, wagers will probably be laid, and after some burning argumentation, someone will pull up the Internet to find the information needed to settle the dispute.

To stimulate such tasty dialogues, I present the following morsels about fishing that are sure to nourish the intellect and satisfy every appetite. These tidbits may also give anglers some benchmarks to shoot for.

Favorite fish

What freshwater fish are targeted most often by U.S. anglers? A report from Angler

Survey.com has answers that aren’t surprising. With 59.3 percent of anglers targeting it, the largemouth bass continues to be the most-sought game-fish across the country, followed by panfish (36.8 percent), smallmouth bass (25.3 percent) trout (20.1 percent), catfish (17.4 percent) and walleye (14.3 percent).

Biggest record fish

So you think that wall-hanger bass you caught was big, huh? Well, it probably was for its species, but landing it was a cinch compared to landing the biggest record fish ever.

On April 21, 1959, Alfred Dean caught a 2,664-pound great white shark off the coast of south Australia. Amazingly, he subdued this monster — the heaviest record fish ever listed by the International Game Fish Association — in only 50 minutes on 130-pound line. Dean also caught great whites weighing 2,333 and 2,536 pounds.

Bass master

Dave Romeo of Elizabethtown, Pa., is one of those guys who takes bass fishing to extremes. He set a Guinness World Record for the most bass caught in a single season — 3,001 largemouth bass landed in just 77 days back in 1987. And after more than a quarter century of counting, measuring and meticulously documenting every bass he’s caught, he achieved another Guinness record by becoming the first person ever to catch, record and release 25,000 bass in 25 years. To celebrate, Romeo splurged and bought a new vanity license plate: “25K BASS.”

Best prize for a record fish

Anglers who win big-name bass tournaments can improve their financial status immensely overnight. But who would have thought you could get rich by catching a record carp?

That’s what happened to Al St. Cyr in March 2006. While fishing during the Texas Carp Challenge, he landed a 43.13-pound, state-record common carp in Austin’s Town Lake. That fish earned St. Cyr a $250,000 payday from the American Carp Society, the largest prize ever for a carp fisherman in the U.S.

Fastest fish

A group at Florida’s Long Key Fishing Camp came up with a simple method for accurately measuring a fish’s swimming speed. A fish is hooked. It makes a run. You measure how much line the fish took off the spool in a certain number of seconds, and you can calculate the fish’s speed. The fastest fish in these speed trials, perhaps the fastest fish in the world, was a sailfish that took out 300 feet of line in three seconds, a velocity of 68 mph. That’s zero to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds!

Biggest fly rod and reel

On June 12, 1999, Tiney Mitchell of Port Isabel, Texas, finished constructing the world’s largest fly-fishing rod and reel. The rod is a whopping 71 feet, 4.5 inches long. The reel measures 4 feet in diameter and 10 inches in width.

Biggest wooden fishing lure

Most bass anglers keep their lures in tackle boxes. Ron Mirabile of New Port Richey, Fla., lugs his on a 14-foot trailer. Mirabile, a collector and carver of fishing lures, has built what may be the largest wooden lure in the world: an 8-foot-long, 200-pound torpedo called “Bassmonger,” which has two 9-inch hooks and two 2-inch glass eyes, and is painted green with black spots.

Most expensive lure

Were you upset the last time you snagged and lost a $5 or $10 fishing lure? Then you might not want to fish with the Million Dollar Lure from MacDaddy Fishing Lures. This 12-inch trolling lure, designed to catch marlin, is crafted with just more than 3 pounds of glimmering gold and platinum, and encrusted with 100 carats of diamonds and rubies (4,753 stones, to be exact). Cost? Just as the name says — a cool $1 million.

Highest price paid for a fishing lure

Tracey Shirey, a collector from South Carolina, paid $101,200 for an 1859 copper fishing lure, a record price for an American fishing collectible at auction. The 10-inch-long saltwater lure was made by gunsmith Riley Haskell of Painesville, Ohio, in the 1850s. The lure’s spinning double hook was the first patented hook in the U.S.

Creepiest new lure

Scientists at Harvard University working with heart-muscle cells from rats have created a thin film that can twist, grip and pulse like a real piece of muscle. They hope this lifelike material may one day be used to patch disease-damaged hearts, but it may have additional applications as well, including the creation of new types of self-propelled fishing lures. Triangular sheets of the material have been used to make little “fish” that actually swim by swinging their tails from side to side, a fact that led Kit Parker, leader of the research team, to tell one interviewer the films might be used for fish bait. “It’s a lot easier to get a muscular thin film on a hook than a worm,” he said.

Most consecutive casts

So you thought you made a lot of casts during the last tournament you fished, huh? Check this out. In July 1999, Brent Olgers of Macon, Ga., established a world record for the longest period of consecutive casting. Using a Zebco 33 Classic reel, Olgers cast 6,501 times in just more than 24 hours, averaging 270 casts per hour. Each cast had to be at least 45 feet in length.

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