The East Coast is buzzing about the striped bass Connecticut resident Greg Myerson caught this weekend. If the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) confirms the catch, the 82-pounder will be the new world record.Myerson, 43, of North Branford, caught the 81.88-pound fish just after sunset in Long Island Sound. The Sound is a huge bay between Connecticut to the north and Long Island, N.Y. to the south, and is a well-known striper hot spot.
Myerson used big live eels, a common bait on the Atlantic coast when going for big stripers. Fishing at night is another technique for catching the big ones.
According to an interview the angler gave exclusively to FieldandStream.com, the fish was caught at Outer Southwest Reef off the coast of Westbrook, Conn., at around 8 p.m. on Aug. 4. He didn't weigh it until 8:30 the next morning: The fish was kept overnight in a cooler packed with ice.
He was fishing with a St. Croix tuna rod and 50-pound Berkley Gorilla Braid -- gear you would only use if you were targeting big fish.
Myerson is known for going after and catching big stripers. He caught a 68.75-pounder last year among his three that weighed 191.55, which earned him angler of the year in the On The Water Magazine's 2010 Striper Cup competition.
If the IGFA certifies his most recent catch, it will crush the existing world record of 78 pounds, 8 ounces, which was set by Al McReynolds on Sept. 21, 1982. McReynolds' fish was a dramatic story, one that won't be topped by the potential new record. Here is the short version.
McReynolds caught the huge striper off a rock jetty he fished often, in Atlantic City, N.J. -- in other words, not from a boat. He was fishing in terrible conditions, basically the tail end of a Nor'easter, with a lure: a silver/black back Rebel. He fought the fish for an hour and 40 minutes on spinning gear -- on 20-pound-test! -- before it gave up and McReynolds and a buddy could pull it up clear of the rocks.
That is the good part of the story. The bad part is McReynolds was doubted, questioned, spoken badly about, received hate mail and generally had his life made miserable, all because he caught what happened to be a world-record fish.
At one point McReynolds said that catching the fish might have been the worst thing that ever happened to him. The well-known striper book "On the Run" depicted his family in a sad light, and said they had fallen on hard times because of the catch. McReynolds subsequently refuted that portrayal, but he has made no secret of the fact that he feels he was treated badly because of the catch.
A few reporters have written that Myerson went dark after the FieldandStream.com interview, possibly afraid of what he'd be in for given McReynolds' experience. But Myerson did tell Field and Stream that he will submit the catch to the IGFA.
McReynolds ended up winning $250,000 for his catch by virtue of a contest he wasn't aware of until The New York Times told him about it. Myerson submitted his fish for the On the Water Striper Cup in Connecticut, which has a top prize of around $10,000.
Striper season is ongoing on the East Coast, as the fish migrate up the coast in the spring, and down in the fall. Other trophies are out there. One report was of a 77-4 bass landed off Rhode Island, which if true would be a new state record ... and just 1 1/4 pounds off the current official world record.