Registering your trophy fish
So you’ve landed the big one, the fish of your dreams, and you want to make sure it’s official. There are a couple of ways to do that: you can have the state of Virginia certify your catch as a trophy, or if your fish is truly mammoth, you can go for global status with the International Game Fish Association.
No matter which agency you register with, you’ll need to provide plenty of documentation, including length, weight, witness signature(s) and lots of photos. Of course, you’ll probably take plenty of photos with your catch anyway!
For information about the Virginia Angler Recognition Program, visit the state website http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/trophy to learn more and download the application. Before you apply, though, be aware that the state has these minimum standards for “trophy” status:
Fish Length Weight
Bass, Largemouth 22" 8 lbs.
Bass, Striped 37" 20 lbs.
Carp 34" 20 lbs.
Catfish, Flathead 40" 25 lbs.
Catfish, Channel 30" 12 lbs.
Catfish, Blue 38" 30 lbs.
Crappie 15" 2 lbs.
Walleye 25" 5 lbs.
White Perch 13" 1 lb. 4 oz.
To enter your ginormous catch with the International Game Fish Association, go to http://www.igfa.org/fish/world-record-application.aspx and download the form. You’ll need to send in samples of your line, and get the signatures of your captain, weighmaster and witnesses. So if you’re feeling lucky, you might want to print out the form (maybe more than once!) before hitting the water.
Of course, if you’re fishing for blue catfish, you’re unlikely to beat the current world record: a 143-pound catfish caught right here in Kerr Lake in June 2011 by Richard Nicholas Anderson. Anderson needed the assistance of his father and brother not just to land the fish, but to hold it up for photographs!
More information: http://www.learntocatchcatfish.com/world-record-blue-catfish-143/