Discussion: Is a Record Worth Killing a Fish Over?

Discussion: Is a Record Worth Killing a Fish Over?

Whenever we post a record fish story here on WFN, there are always two major camps of people in our website and social communities. On the one hand, we get people who marvel at the size of the fish and congratulate the angler. On the flip side, however, we also get many who are offended by the post, and berate the angler for killing a fish just for the sake of a record. A familiar remark being something like "how dare you kill that fish? Should have let it go, what a shame :(" or "should have let it go for others to catch!"


I can understand the sentiment. When you see a large fish, you're looking at a creature that has lived a (relatively) long life with many experiences, and most importantly, has spawned many times. Now, when it's taken from the depths by an angler, never to swim again, there's a sense of grim finality.

Of course, the arguments against that is that the fish lived a longer than normal life anyways, and it may die anyways if release after a long fight. And besides, if the regulations say an angler can harvest a fish, then there's no harm in following the rules, right?

Other opinions vary depending on the type of fish and its size. Take the halibut in the picture below.

World record Atlantic Halibut caught in Norway.
Marco Liebenow celebrates his catch with a group of excited friends.


We received a lot of negative comments about this record catch, and we usually do whenever it's a huge fish, especially saltwater. If it was a black crappie, most would not even bat an eye, as this type of fish is an acceptable one to take home to eat anyways (never mind that the halibut is, too).

Curious as to what species get the most flack from our communities when it comes to harvesting record fish? The two biggest are bass and sharks.

When it comes to bass, many anglers are against the aidea of killing a bass as they should be a catch-and-release fish, so the fishing tradition can carry on to future generations.


Sharks are a different story. Bass may draw the ire of passionate anglers, but it is sharks that draw the most attention from the non-angler crowd.With all the reports you hear about the declining populations of sharks, anytime a new record of one is caught and killed - even if it's within regulations set out by government - there's a huge cry against the angler for "destroying an endangered species."

Well, what do you think? Would you keep a fish to weigh for a record, even though it may kill the fish? Should the IGFA and other similar record-keeping organizations promote catch-and-release records more? Why do you think some fish are fine to be caught and brought home, but not other species? Reply in the comments below!

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