Top 100 World Saltwater Fishing Records

Top 100 World Records

The world’s most amazing saltwater record catches

amazing saltwater inshore nearshore offshore fishing world records

Which fish are the 100 best world records ever caught?

Chris McGlinchy / Sport Fishing Magazine

So what’s the greatest IGFA world record of all time? That's a subjective question — but Sport Fishing tapped some of the top experts in the field to get an answer, as well as determine the 100 best world records ever caught.

We sought input from seven angling experts, historians and authorities (Michael Farrior, Enrico Capozzi, Martin Arostegui, Mark Sosin, Raleigh Werking, Gary Carter and Mike Leech), each of whom suggested catches and then ranked the top 100 as they saw fit.

The cumulative results of their rankings are represented in the following gallery.

Of course, ranking record catches will always be a subjective exercise. The truth is that each catch over the following pages represents a phenomenal accomplishment, requiring great skill and patience to achieve. Enjoy the gallery.

No. 100 — Roosterfish

This legendary catch, which still stands nearly 60 years later, just goes to show that Peru's Cabo Blanco wasn't only a phenomenal fishery for huge marlin. (Actual photo of record catch unavailable.)

100_rooster.adrian1.jpg

Weight: 80 pounds

Line Class: M-50

Angler: Cloyce Tippet

Location: Cabo Blanco, Peru

Date: June 13, 1954

Fight Time: N/A

Lure/Bait: Lure

Tackle: Ashaway line; Penn Senator reel; Bob Kleiser glass rod

Courtesy Adrian E. Gray

No. 99 — Bluefish

A truly huge bluefish, caught from the Outer Banks’ surf in the dead of winter.

99_bluefish_at_hussey.jpg

Weight: 31 pounds, 12 ounces

Line Class: M-50 / All Tackle

Angler: James Hussey

Location: Hatteras, North Carolina

Date: Jan. 30, 1972

Fight Time: N/A

Lure/Bait: Eel

Tackle: Trilene line; Penn 113-H 4/0 reel; Berkley RL-3 rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 98 — Pacific Snook

Pictured is actually Betsy Bullard's 37-pound, 7-ounce record snook caught on 16-pound test in 2008, a fine catch in its own right. Now, imagine a fish 15 pounds larger, caught 50 years ago. That was the size of Jane Hawood's monster, a photo of which was not available. It still stands today as the women's 30-pound record, however.

98_pacific snook_bullard.jpg

Weight: 52 pounds, 6 ounces

Line Class: W-30

Angler: Ms. Jane Haywood

Location: La Paz, Mexico

Date: Jan. 9, 1963

Fight Time: 30 minutes

Lure/Bait: Acme Ding-a-Jig

Tackle: Wright & McGill line; Penn Spinfisher reel; Wright & McGill No. B95H rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 97 — Goliath Grouper

Specimens close to the size of this monster still swim throughout Florida’s waters — but they can’t be kept.

97_goliath grouper_at_joyner.jpg

Weight: 680 pounds

Line Class: M-80 / All Tackle

Angler: Lynn Joyner

Location: Fernandina Beach, Florida

Date: May 20, 1961

Fight Time: 50 minutes

Lure/Bait: Spanish mackerel

Tackle: Penn No. 67 reel; Calcutta rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 96 — California Yellowtail

An absolutely huge California yellowtail, caught fairly recently.

96_california yellowtail_at_taniwaki.jpg

Weight: 109 pounds, 2 ounces

Line Class: M-80

Angler: Masakazu Taniwaki

Location: Ohara, Chiba, Japan

Date: Oct. 24, 2009

Fight Time: 12 minutes

Lure/Bait: Original pencil bait

Tackle: Yotsuami line; Shimano Stella 10000 XG reel; Ripple Fisher Aguira 76 rod

Captain: Toru Yamaguchi

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 95 — Great Barracuda

Impressive 11-to-1 barracuda catch on a fast, jumping fish; no easy task on 4-pound test.

95_great barracuda_w4lb_woods.jpg

Weight: 44 pounds, 1 ounce

Line Class: W-4

Angler: Ms. Jeanne Woods

Location: Groote Eylandt, N.T., Australia

Date: Nov. 30, 1986

Fight Time: 55 minutes

Lure/Bait: Nils master

Tackle: Platypus line; Abu Garcia 5500C reel; Shakespeare Ugly Stick rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 94 — Giant Black Sea Bass

A picture of Richard Lane's huge sea bass was not available — pictured here is another record from yesteryear: R. Gautier's 448-pounder, taken in 1975 off the Coronado Islands on 30-pound test. (The giant black sea bass is now a protected species in California waters.)

94_sea bass.gautier.jpg

Weight: 557 pounds, 3 ounces

Line Class: M-50

Angler: Richard Lane

Location: Catalina Island, California

Date: Jan. 7, 1962

Fight Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Lure/Bait: Squid

Tackle: Ashcraft Dacron line; Penn Senator 6/0 reel; Pastor Standard B50 rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 93 — Greater Amberjack

What a monster! Researchers say AJs can reportedly grow to more than 170 pounds; this one certainly taps the upper limit.

93_greater amberjack_at_nemoto.jpg

Weight: 156 pounds, 13 ounces

Line Class: M-50 / All Tackle

Angler: Hideyuki Nemoto

Location: Iki Island, Nagasaki, Japan

Date: Nov. 19, 2010

Fight Time: 40 minutes

Lure/Bait: MC Works Jig

Tackle: Sun line; Daiwa Saltiga reel; MC Works NB 633 Evo rod

Captain: Seiichiro Tashiro

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 92 — Narrowbarred Mackerel

Awesome 13-to-1 catch of one of the world’s fastest fish taken on very light line.

92_narrowbarred mackerel_m6lb_brown.jpg

Weight: 80 pounds, 3 ounces

Line Class: M-6

Angler: Wayne Brown

Location: Dampier Archipelago, Australia

Date: Aug. 6, 2000

Fight Time: 25 minutes

Lure/Bait: Garfish

Tackle: Platypus line; Shimano TLD10 reel; Ozflex Boss 1604 rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 91 — Cobia

Imagine bringing this fish aboard! While scientists say cobia can grow to 150 pounds, this one was legally caught and its weight recorded, so it is officially the largest on record.

91_cobia_at_goulding.jpg

Weight: 135 pounds, 9 ounces

Line Class: M-30 / All Tackle

Angler: Peter Goulding

Location: Shark Bay, W.A., Australia

Date: July 9, 1985

Fight Time: 90 minutes

Lure/Bait: Mullet

Tackle: Tortue line; Alvey 651 CS reel; Jarvis Walker rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 90 — Giant Trevally

Impressive catch of a true battler on light line.

90_giant trevally_w12lb_henderson.jpg

Weight: 77 pounds, 2 ounces

Line Class: W-12

Angler: Ms. Esme Henderson

Location: Seymour River Estuary, Queensland, Australia

Date: June 12, 1996

Fight Time: 45 minutes

Lure/Bait: Deep-diving Lucinda

Tackle: Platypus line; Shimano Chronarch CH100 reel; Daiwa Firenorf 1M-571 5 F rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 89 — Pacific Cubera Snapper

Dick Love was reportedly fishing for black marlin with live bait when this monster hit.

89_pac cubera snapper_m12lb_love.jpg

Weight: 51 pounds

Line Class: M-12

Angler: Dick Love

Location: Isla de Cano, Costa Rica

Date: March 14, 1989

Fight Time: 20 minutes

Lure/Bait: Blue runner

Tackle: Stren line; Shimano TLD20 reel; Bill Boyd custom rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 88 — Permit

A relatively recent catch, this monster proves that all-tackle-caliber fish (even popular species) still swim the world's oceans.

88_permit_at_fiedler.jpg

Weight: 60 pounds

Line Class: All Tackle

Angler: Renato Fiedler

Location: Ilha do Mel, Paranagua, Brazil

Date: Dec. 14, 2002

Fight Time: 25 minutes

Lure/Bait: Shrimp twin-tail/jig

Tackle: Magibraid line; Shimano Corsair CS301 reel; Shimano rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 87 — Atlantic Sailfish

Absolutely giant Atlantic sail caught on respectable-size line.

87_atl sailfish_w30lb_nicolson.jpg

Weight: 128 pounds, 1 ounce

Line Class: W-30

Angler: Ms. Bernadette Nicolson

Location: Luanda, Angola

Date: Feb. 20, 1994

Fight Time: 20 minutes

Lure/Bait: Moldcraft 8-inch hooker

Tackle: Ande Tournament line; Shimano TLD25 reel; Shimano BR 1606 RFT rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 86 — Hammerhead Shark

A lengthy battle resulted in this truly huge fish. However, great hammerheads are now protected in Florida waters.

86_great hammerhead shark_at_dennis.jpg

Weight: 1,280 pounds

Line Class: M-130

Angler: Bucky Dennis

Location: Boca Grande, Florida

Date: May 23, 2006

Fight Time: 5 hours, 30 minutes

Lure/Bait: Stingray

Tackle: PowerPro line; Penn reel; Custom rod

Captain: Jim Willis

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 85 — Tarpon

Legendary catch by a legendary angler. Pate was a driving force during the golden age of fly-fishing for tarpon at Homosassa, Florida.

85_tarpon_182_pate.jpg

Weight: 182 pounds

Line Class: M-16 (fly) (now retired)

Angler: Billy Pate

Location: Homosassa, Florida

Date: May 11, 1979

Fight Time: N/A

Lure/Bait: N/A

Tackle: N/A

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 84 — Mako Shark

Very large mako caught on light gear by a female angler. Impressive stuff.

84_mako shark_w30lb_adams.jpg

Weight: 634 pounds, 14 ounces

Line Class: W-30

Angler: Ms. Cheryl Adams

Location: Port Stephens, Australia

Date: Feb. 29, 1992

Fight Time: 1 hour

Lure/Bait: Striped tuna

Tackle: Everol 4.0 reel; custom rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 83 — Cobia

18-to-1 comeback catch came only one day after Cunningham lost another 70-plus-pounder on 4-pound line after a grueling five-hour fight that lasted well into the nighttime hours, ending with a missed gaff shot and a lost trophy.

83_cobia_m4lb_cunningham.jpg

Weight: 73 pounds, 10 ounces

Line Class: M-4

Angler: Robert Cunningham Jr.

Location: Gulf of Mexico, Alabama

Date: April 23, 1999

Fight Time: 40 minutes

Lure/Bait: Live eel

Tackle: Stren line; Daiwa SS2600 reel; Falcon rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 82 — Red Drum

Fish caught in the surf — what’s more, catch came exactly 11 years to the day after Elvin Hooper caught what was formerly the all-tackle record (and still the 30-pound line-class record), a 90-pound red taken in Rodanthe, North Carolina, just north of Avon.

82_red drum_at_deuel.jpg

Weight: 94 pounds, 2 ounces

Line Class: M-50 / All Tackle

Angler: David Deuel

Location: Avon, North Carolina

Date: Nov. 7, 1984

Fight Time: 45 minutes

Lure/Bait: Cut mullet

Tackle: Stren line; Daiwa 7000C reel; Daiwa SurfSpin 711DX rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 81 — Pacific Sailfish

Not the most amazing line-class record, but without a doubt the biggest sailfish ever landed in the history of mankind. The record has stood for more than 60 years. (Actual photo of record catch unavailable.)

81_pacific sailfish.jpg

Weight: 221 pounds

Line Class: M-130

Angler: Carl Stewart

Location: Santa Cruz Island, Equador

Date: Feb. 12, 1947

Fight Time: 30 minutes

Lure/Bait: Mullet

Tackle: Penn 12/0 reel; Ipswisch rod

Mike Mazur / Sport Fishing Magazine

No. 80 — Yellowfin Tuna

Marked the first yellowfin tuna ever caught on fly gear and led to the now-common practice of dead-drifting flies in a chum slick. “Twice the tuna totally stripped all the line off the reel right down to the knot on the spool,” recalls Sosin.

80_yellowfin tuna_sosin.jpg

Weight: 53 pounds, 6 ounces

Line Class: M-12 (fly) (now retired)

Angler: Mark Sosin

Location: Bermuda

Date: Jul. 3, 1969

Fight Time: 40 minutes

Lure/Bait: Chunk pattern

Tackle: Scientific Anglers line; Seamaster reel; Fenwick 10-weight rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 79 — Atlantic Snook

A monster snook on any line-class, let alone 6-pound.

79_atl snook_m6lb_hogan.jpg

Weight: 41 pounds, 8 ounces

Line Class: M-6

Angler: George Hogan, Jr.

Location: Jupiter, Florida

Date: Jul. 23, 1996

Fight Time: 16 minutes

Lure/Bait: Live pilchard

Tackle: Ande line; Shimano TLD15 reel; Star rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 78 — Yellowfin Tuna

“Consider the tackle at the time of this catch.” — Mark Sosin

78_yellowfin_zg-sportfishing__600dpi__008.jpg

Weight: 318 pounds

Line Class: N/A

Angler: Zane Grey

Location: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Date: 1924

Fight Time: N/A

Lure/Bait: N/A

Tackle: N/A

Courtesy Zane Grey Inc.

No. 77 — Yellowfin Tuna

Tremendous six-hour battle with one of the world’s toughest fish. A fine 11-to-1 catch.

77_yellowfin tuna_m20lb_sholtz.jpg

Weight: 235 pounds, 5 ounces

Line Class: M-20

Angler: Frank Sholtz

Location: Cape Point, South Africa

Date: May 6, 2012

Fight Time: Six hours

Lure/Bait: N/A

Tackle: Ande line; Penn reel; Penn rod

Captain: David Edgar

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 76 — Roosterfish

The biggest roosterfish ever officially recorded. This record has held up for 53 years, which is amazing given the popularity of this species.

76_roosterfish_at_sackheim.jpg

Weight: 114 pounds

Line Class: M-30

Angler: Abe Sackheim

Location: La Paz, Mexico

Date: June 1, 1960

Fight Time: N/A

Lure/Bait: N/A

Tackle: Ashaway line; Penn No. 250 reel; Miltcraft rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 75 — Swordfish

One of only a couple swordfish ever to be taken on fly tackle. A very rare catch. (Actual photo of record catch unavailable.)

75_swordfish.jpg

Weight: 89 pounds, 15 ounces

Line Class: M-16 (fly)

Angler: Fouad Sahiaoui

Location: Watamu, Kenya

Date: Dec. 23, 1998

Fight Time: 25 minutes

Lure/Bait: Handmade fly

Tackle: Mason line; Tibor Gulfstream reel; Fisher rod

Mike Mazur / Sport Fishing Magazine

No. 74 — Bonefish

While this picture may not do the fish justice, Batchelor's bonefish ranked as the largest specimen ever caught — anywhere.

74_bonefish_at_batchelor.jpg

Weight: 19 pounds

Line Class: M-30 / All Tackle

Angler: Brian Batchelor

Location: Zululand, South Africa

Date: May 26, 1962

Fight Time: N/A

Lure/Bait: Prawn

Tackle: Atlas line; Penn 49A reel; Sealey Heavy Surf rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 73 — Bonefish

Amazing catch, considering the light tippet — required a prolonged, 30-minute battle.

73_bonefish_mfr2lb_orthwein.jpg

Weight: 12 pounds

Line Class: M-2 (fly)

Angler: James Orthwein

Location: Bimini, Bahamas

Date: Nov. 12, 1989

Fight Time: 30 minutes

Lure/Bait: Shrimp fly

Tackle: Scientific Anglers line; Seamaster Salmon reel; Kunnan Boron rod

Captain: Rudy Dames

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 72 — White Marlin

Required a lengthy battle on an extremely light tippet.

72_white marlin_mfr6lb_sahiaoui.jpg

Weight: 83 pounds, 12 ounces

Line Class: M-6 (fly)

Angler: Fouad Sahiaoui

Location: Mohammedia, Morocco

Date: Oct. 25, 1997

Fight Time: 2 hours, 55 minutes

Lure/Bait: Erskines fly

Tackle: Mason line; Billy Pate Marlin reel; Cape Fear rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 71 — Striped Bass

This recent catch of what is arguably America’s most popular saltwater game fish supplanted a long-standing all-tackle world-record striper of 78 pounds.

71_striped bass_at_myerson.jpg

Weight: 81 pounds, 14 ounces

Line Class: M-80 / All Tackle

Angler: Gregory Myerson

Location: Westbrook, Connecticut

Date: Aug. 4, 2011

Fight Time: 15 minutes

Lure/Bait: Live eel

Tackle: Berkley line; Quantum reel; St. Croix rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 70 — Pacific Sailfish

One of the very few photos available of Dr. Webster Robinson and his wife Helen, this shot may not encapsulate Robinson's light-tackle accomplishments, but his Jan. 18 Pacific sailfish catch marked the first-ever specimen caught on fly, one that eventually led to the development of bait-and-switch techniques now common to that type of fishing. Robinson would also go on to catch the first striped marlin on fly, as well, though his fish were not recognized as official IGFA records.

70_pac sailfish_robinson_fly.jpg

Weight: 74 pounds, 8 ounces

Line Class: M-12 (fly)

Angler: Dr. Webster Robinson

Location: Pinas Bay, Panama

Date: Jan. 18, 1962

Fight Time: N/A

Lure/Bait: Bill Gallasch popping bug

Tackle: Custom-built Spinmaster rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 69 — Tarpon

While not an official IGFA world record, “this catch set a standard at the time — it showed how big a fish could be landed on light, plug tackle.” — Mark Sosin

69_tarpon_160_jerry coughlan tarpon_joe brooks and jimmie albright.jpg

Weight: 167 pounds

Line Class: Plug Gear

Angler: Jerry Coughlan

Location: Florida Keys

Date: 1950

Fight Time: N/A

Lure/Bait: Pflueger Supreme baitcast reel; bamboo baitcast rod

Tackle: Pflueger Pal-O-Mine lure

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 68 — Dogtooth Tuna

Outstanding fly-rod catch considering the brutal strength of this species.

68_dogtooth tuna_mfr16lb_chittum.jpg

Weight: 147 pounds, 14 ounces

Line Class: M-16 (fly)

Angler: H.T. Chittum III

Location: Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Date: Oct. 18, 2005

Fight Time: 35 minutes

Lure/Bait: Konochik tube popper

Tackle: Rio line; Tibor reel; Cape Fear rod

Captain: Haydon Bell

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 67 — Pacific Halibut

The sole IGFA world record on our list stemming from Alaska, this 30-to-1 catch is a dandy.

67_pac halibut_m8lb_grimes.jpg

Weight: 244 pounds

Line Class: M-8

Angler: Gene Grimes

Location: Basket Bay, Alaska

Date: Aug. 18, 1988

Fight Time: 65 minutes

Lure/Bait: Salmon head

Tackle: Ande line; Daiwa Sealine 30SH reel; Sabre Custom rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 66 — Pacific Bluefin Tuna

A recent catch, proving yet again that all-tackle-record-caliber fish still can be caught.

66_pac bluefin tuna_at_adams.jpg

Weight: 739 pounds, 6 ounces

Line Class: M-80 / All Tackle

Angler: Nathan Adams

Location: New Zealand

Date: Feb. 17, 2012

Fight Time: 40 minutes

Lure/Bait: Mackerel

Tackle: Momoi line; Shimano reel; Radz rod

Captain: Craig Wilcox

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 65 — Atlantic Bigeye Tuna

Incredibly long battle by one of the sport’s best big-game anglers of all time.

65_atl bigeye tuna_m30lb_campbell.jpg

Weight: 329 pounds

Line Class: M-30

Angler: Stewart Campbell

Location: Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Africa

Date: May 5, 1986

Fight Time: 7 hours

Lure/Bait: N/A

Tackle: Ande line; Shimano 30 reel; T-Bud rod

Captain: Baril Garnsey

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 64 — Striped Marlin

Catch ranks as the largest marlin ever caught on fly tackle by a female angler. The fact that it was taken on mere 12-pound tippet is extraordinary. (Actual photo of record catch unavailable.)

64_striped marlin_courtesy marc montocchio.jpg

Weight: 194 pounds

Line Class: W-12 (fly)

Angler: Sophie Grover

Location: Port Stephens, New South Wales, Australia

Date: Jan. 10, 2010

Fight Time: 10 minutes

Lure/Bait: Profile fly

Tackle: Stren line; Charlton 8608 reel; Strudnick rod

Courtesy Marc Montocchio / 36north.com

No. 63 — Atlantic Blue Marlin

The first blue marlin ever caught on a fly rod in angling history. “I actually weighed the marlin, used our record board and wrote the IGFA application for him,” remembers friend Enrico Capozzi. “Funny enough, almost 20 years since then, I have been trying to best his record, but for one reason or another have not succeeded yet.”

63_atl blue marlin_mfr20lb_tombras.jpg

Weight: 208 pounds

Line Class: M-20 (fly)

Angler: Charlie Tombras

Location: La Guaira Bank, Venezuela

Date: May 20, 1994

Fight Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Lure/Bait: Custom tube fly

Tackle: Mason line; Abel No. 5 reel; Fisher 3-piece rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 62 — Pacific Blue Marlin

Only 3 ½ pounds shy of a grander! Still, a fabulous women’s catch.

62_pac blue marlin_w80lb_kisbee.jpg

Weight: 996 pounds, 14 ounces

Line Class: W-80

Angler: Ms. Melanie Kisbee

Location: Bateman’s Bay, Australia

Date: March 14, 1999

Fight Time: 90 minutes

Lure/Bait: Topgun Awesome lure

Tackle: Platypus line; Shimano Tiagra 80w reel; Tournament Tackle rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 61 — Wahoo

One of the coolest catches on our list, the all-tackle record wahoo was actually caught by a 15-year-old girl on vacation with her family. This catch holds three records: all-tackle; women’s 80-pound line-class; and junior all-tackle. The charter boat was headed back to the docks after a slow, half-day trip when the monster hit.

61_wahoo_at_hayward.jpg

Weight: 184 pounds

Line Class: W-80 / All Tackle / F-Junior

Angler: Sara Hayward

Location: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Date: July 29, 2005

Fight Time: 45 minutes

Lure/Bait: Mean Joe Green Lure

Tackle: Shimano reel; Shakespeare rod

Captain: Gerardo Martinez

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 60 — Pacific Sailfish

Impressive longevity of this huge sailfish record on light line — it was set almost 40 years ago. The fight time indicates this was a real battle.

60_pac sailfish_m6lb_maspons.jpg

Weight: 168 pounds

Line Class: M-6

Angler: Santiago Maspons

Location: Salinas, Ecuador

Date: Sept. 7, 1974

Fight Time: 55 minutes

Lure/Bait: Mackerel

Tackle: Stren line; Regal 12 2/0 reel; Fenwick rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 59 — Pacific Sailfish

Fabulous light-line billfish catch. At one time, Dunaway actually held records for all nine billfish species simultaneously, a record that will never be duplicated, says Mike Leech. Those fish were Atlantic and Pacific blue marlin, Atlantic and Pacific sailfish, swordfish, black marlin, white marlin, striped marlin and shortbilled spearfish. The abbreviated fight time indicates that adroit boat handling played a big role in this and other ultra-light-tackle records.

59_pac sailfish_w2lb_dunaway.jpg

Weight: 102 pounds

Line Class: W-2

Angler: Deborah Dunaway

Location: Flamingo Bay, Costa Rica

Date: July 9, 1992

Fight Time: 8 minutes

Lure/Bait: Ballyhoo

Tackle: Stren line; Shimano TLD15 reel; Bill Boyd Custom No. 2 rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 58 — Pacific Sailfish

A very large sailfish on the lightest of line — ratio of more than 55-to-1. Note how quickly this fish was boated, an indication of close teamwork between the captain, crew and angler.

58_pac sailfish_m2lb_dunaway.jpg

Weight: 111 pounds

Line Class: M-2

Angler: Jerry Dunaway

Location: Flamingo Bay, Costa Rica

Date: July 5, 1993

Fight Time: 6 minutes

Lure/Bait: Ballyhoo

Tackle: Stren line; Shimano TLD15 reel; Bill Boyd Custom No. 2 rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 57 — White Marlin

Absolutely enormous white marlin caught on relatively sporting gear.

57_white marlin_at_coserin.jpg

Weight: 181 pounds, 14 ounces

Line Class: M-30 / All Tackle

Angler: Evandro Coserin

Location: Vitoria, Brazil

Date: Dec. 8, 1979

Fight Time: 40 minutes

Lure/Bait: Dead bait

Tackle: Ande line; Penn International 30 reel; Magnaflex rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 56 — Mako Shark

75-to-1 catch on one of the toughest, fastest fish in the sea.

56_mako shark_m2lb_kahlenberg.jpg

Weight: 150 pounds, 5 ounces

Line Class: M-2

Angler: David Kahlenberg

Location: North Whale Island, New Zealand

Date: Feb. 22, 2010

Fight Time: 38 minutes

Lure/Bait: N/A

Tackle: Suffix line; Shimano TR1000 reel; offshore rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 55 — Dolphin

Outstanding catch, 29-to-1, on a tough, jumping pelagic species. A giant dolphin this size is tough on any gear, let alone 2-pound test.

55_dolphinfish_m2lb_carter.jpg

Weight: 58 pounds, 3 ounces

Line Class: M-2

Angler: Gary Carter

Location: Panama

Date: Jan. 4, 2007

Fight Time: 10 minutes

Lure/Bait: Ballyhoo

Tackle: Momoi line; Shimano Tiagra reel; Nill Buckland rod

Captain: Yoan Alcala

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 54 — Bonefish

Not an official IGFA record, but a legendary catch nonetheless. Brooks’ bonefish is generally considered the first ever specimen targeted and specifically caught on a fly rod.

54_bonefish.brooks_8lb_fly.jpg

Weight: 8 pounds

Line Class: M-12

Angler: Joe Brooks

Location: Islamorada, Florida

Date: June 1947

Fight Time: N/A

Lure/Bait: N/A

Tackle: Orvis bamboo fly rod

Captain: Jimmy Albright

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 53 — White Marlin

“This is the only marlin ever caught on 2-pound tippet,” says Mike Leech. “Capozzi also holds the 2-pound tippet sailfish record.”

53_atl white marlin_mfr2lb_capozzi.jpg

Weight: 55 pounds, 4 ounces

Line Class: M-2 (fly)

Angler: Enrico Capozzi

Location: Capcana, Dominican Republic

Date: Apr. 20, 2011

Fight Time: 5 minutes

Lure/Bait: Enrico Special

Tackle: Stren line; Abel reel; Lefty Kreh rod

Captain: Bubba Carter

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 52 — Tarpon

More than 50-to-1 on a difficult-to-catch jumping fish. Fabulous light-tackle catch.

52_tarpon_m2lb_hogan.jpg

Weight: 106 pounds

Line Class: M-2

Angler: George Hogan

Location: Marathon, Florida

Date: June 10, 1992

Fight Time: 27 minutes

Lure/Bait: Mullet

Tackle: Ande line; Shimano TLD20 reel; Star rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 51 — Lemon Shark

One of the largest saltwater fish ever caught on fly gear. Fish was safely released after being weighed.

51_lemon shark_arostegui.jpg

Weight: 385 pounds

Line Class: M-12 (fly)

Angler: Martin Arostegui

Location: Key West, Florida

Date: May 16, 2006

Fight Time: 1 hour

Lure/Bait: Fly

Tackle: Mason line; Fin-Nor 4.5 reel; Sage custom rod

Captain: Ralph Delph

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 50 — Pacific Blue Marlin

Over 20-to-1 on light fly tippet of a jumping fish. Catch came three days before Capozzi’s girlfriend, Stacey Parkerson, became the first female angler to catch a Pacific blue on fly.

50_pac blue marlin_mfr8lb_capozzi.jpg

Weight: 161 pounds, 7 ounces

Line Class: M-8 (fly)

Angler: Enrico Capozzi

Location: Playa Carrillo, Costa Rica

Date: Dec. 15, 2007

Fight Time: 20 minutes

Lure/Bait: Enrico Special

Tackle: Stren line; Abel reel; Custom Biscayne rod

Captain: Scott Jones

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 49 — Pacific Blue Marlin

Catch marked the first Pacific blue marlin ever to be landed on fly gear by a female angler — and it remains to this day the largest blue caught by a female on IGFA fly tackle. The catch required an epic, 4-hour, 20-minute battle.

49_pac blue marlin_wfr16lb_parkerson.jpg

Weight: 187 pounds, 4 ounces

Line Class: W-16 (fly)

Angler: Stacey G. Parkerson

Location: Playa Carrillo, Costa Rica

Date: Dec. 18, 2007

Fight Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Lure/Bait: Enrico Special

Tackle: Stren line; Abel reel; Custom Biscayne rod

Captain: Scott Jones

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 48 — Pacific Blue Marlin

Nice 42-to-1 light-tackle marlin catch from one of the most famous fishing lodges in the world, Tropic Star. The two-minute fight time reflects close collaboration between boat crew, captain and angler.

48_pac blue marlin_m6lb_carter.jpg

Weight: 252 pounds, 9 ounces

Line Class: M-6

Angler: Gary Carter

Location: Pinas Bay, Panama

Date: Aug. 23, 2008

Fight Time: 2 minutes

Lure/Bait: Mackerel

Tackle: Momoi line; Shimano Tiagra reel; Bill Buckland rod

Captain: Yoan Alcala

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 47 — Permit

One of the greatest flats fly-rod catches ever, likely never to be broken. The flat that this fish was caught on is now known as the “Scene of the Crime.”

47_permit_fly_del brown.jpg

Weight: 41 pounds, 8 ounces

Line Class: M-8 (fly)

Angler: Del Brown

Location: Key West, Florida

Date: March 13, 1986

Fight Time: 1 hour

Lure/Bait: Crab fly

Captain: Steve Huff

Tackle: Mason line; Seamaster Mark II reel; Fenwick rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 46 — Pacific Bluefin Tuna

While not an official IGFA world record, Holder’s catch kick-started the sport of big-game fishing and is generally regarded as the first bluefin tuna to be caught on rod-and-reel. These fish were previously believed to be uncatchable on recreational fishing tackle.

46_pac bluefin charlesholder_1897.jpg

Weight: 183 pounds

Line Class: N/A

Angler: Charles Holder

Location: Catalina Island, California

Date: June 1897

Fight Time: N/A

Lure/Bait: N/A

Tackle: N/A

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 45 — Pacific Sailfish

Catch marks the only billfish caught by a female angler with a fly rod and 2-pound tippet. It was over quickly, as the two-minute fight time indicates.

45_pac sailfish_wfr2lb_parkerson.jpg

Weight: 56 pounds, 15 ounces

Line Class: W-2 (fly)

Angler: Stacey G. Parkerson

Location: Playa Carrillo, Costa Rica

Date: Jan. 30, 2008

Fight Time: 2 minutes

Lure/Bait: Allen Special fly

Tackle: Stren line; Abel Super 10 reel; Gold Cup rod

Captain: Scott Jones

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 44 — Atlantic Blue Marlin

The largest IGFA-record Atlantic blue marlin caught to date on fly gear, this catch actually exceeds the species’ record on 20-pound tippet.

44_atl blue marlin_mfr16lb_sahiaoui.jpg

Weight: 269 pounds

Line Class: M-16 (fly)

Angler: Fouad Sahiaoui

Location: Mindelo, Cape Verde

Date: May 5, 2012

Fight Time: 1 hour, 58 minutes

Lure/Bait: Sahiaoui billfish fly

Tackle: Mason line; Tibor reel; Custom Fisherman’s Cent rod

Captain: Glenn Johnston

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 43 — Black Marlin

Excellent light-line marlin catch by a “fantastic light-tackle fishermen who has been a pioneer in fishing,” says Enrico Capozzi.

43_black marlin_m16lb_levitt.jpg

Weight: 631 pounds

Line Class: M-16

Angler: Mike Levitt

Location: Cairns, Australia

Date: Dec. 3, 2001

Fight Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Lure/Bait: Mackerel

Tackle: Stren line; Shimano TLD20 reel; Custom Erskine rod

Captain: Paul Whelan

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 42 — Pacific Blue Marlin

Epic battle by one of the best female anglers in the world that lasted well past sundown. “I was saturated and cold from the waves breaking at the back of the boat, but I just kept winding as if beating eggs,” remembers Jacobsen.

42_pac blue marlin_w12lb_jacobsen.jpg

Weight: 400 pounds, 12 ounces

Line Class: W-12

Angler: Eryn Jacobsen

Location: North Cape, New Zealand

Date: Feb. 20, 2011

Fight Time: 5 hours

Lure/Bait: Dead bait

Tackle: Momoi line; Shimano Tyrnos 30 II reel

Captain: John Batterton

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 41 — Striped Marlin

Another excellent marlin catch on fly gear. Evans caught this fish only a couple months before he would record the largest-ever IGFA-record Pacific blue marlin on fly, a 288-pounder.

41_striped marlin_mfr16lb_evans.jpg

Weight: 230 pounds

Line Class: M-16 (fly)

Angler: Thomas M. Evans Jr.

Location: New South Wales, Australia

Date: Feb. 25, 2002

Fight Time: 10 minutes

Lure/Bait: Profile fly

Tackle: Mason line; Charlton 8600B reel; Biscayne Bay rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 40 — Tarpon

The only 200-plus-pound IGFA-record tarpon to be caught on fly.

40_tarpon_mfr20lb_holland.jpg

Weight: 202 pounds, 8 ounces

Line Class: M-20 (fly)

Angler: James Holland

Location: Chassahowitza, Florida

Date: May 11, 2001

Fight Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Lure/Bait: Kilpatrick’s Slick Slider

Tackle: Mason line; Tibor Gulfstream reel; G Loomis GLX 12-weight rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 39 — Atlantic Blue Marlin

The largest IGFA-record Atlantic blue ever caught by a female angler, this record has stood for more than 30 years.

39_atl blue marlin_w130lb_lopez.jpg

Weight: 1,073 pounds

Line Class: W-130

Angler: Ms. Annette Lopez

Location: St. Thomas, USVI

Date: July 6, 1982

Fight Time: 50 minutes

Lure/Bait: Mackerel

Tackle: Ande line; Fin-Nor 9/0 reel; Tycoon Fin-Nor rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 38 — Pacific Blue Marlin

An historic catch, it marked the first official sport-caught blue marlin in the Pacific Ocean. “The catch actually created the Pacific blue marlin record category following years of discussion, because at the time, scientists did not believe there were blues in the Pacific,” says IGFA librarian Gail Morchower.

38_pac blue marlin_parker_1003.jpg

Weight: 1,003 pounds

Line Class: M-130

Angler: George Parker

Location: Kona, Hawaii

Date: Nov. 13, 1954

Fight Time: N/A

Lure/Bait: N/A

Tackle: N/A

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 37 — Tarpon

A celebrated catch that eclipsed his previous record-182-pounder and continued to push forward the notion that catching a 200-pound tarpon on IGFA-regulation fly tackle was possible.

37_tarpon_188_pate.jpg

Weight: 188 pounds

Line Class: M-16 (fly) (now retired)

Angler: Billy Pate

Location: Homosassa, Florida

Date: 1982

Fight Time: N/A

Lure/Bait: N/A

Tackle: N/A

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 36 — Pacific Blue Marlin

Big marlin; light line; long fight — a classic record that has stood for more than 30 years.

36_pac blue marlin_m20lb_nazarek.jpg

Weight: 768 pounds, 10 ounces

Line Class: M-20

Angler: Eugene Nazarek

Location: Buena Vista, Mexico

Date: Nov. 22, 1982

Fight Time: 3 hours, 50 minutes

Lure/Bait: Kona head

Tackle: Izorline; Daiwa 50H reel; Custom rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 35 — Pacific Sailfish

Fabulous 35-to-1 light-tackle record on a jumping pelagic fish.

35_pac sailfish_m4lb_werking.jpg

Weight: 141 pounds, 8 ounces

Line Class: M-4

Angler: Raleigh Werking

Location: Pinas Bay, Panama

Date: Dec. 27, 1992

Fight Time: 8 minutes

Lure/Bait: Strip bait

Tackle: Stren line; Shimano Speedmaster reel; Bill Boyd custom rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 34 — Yellowfin Tuna

This is the famed “million-dollar tuna.” Guy Yocom set out with the express purpose of catching an all-tackle world record yellowfin — he was registered in Mustad Hooks’ “Hook A Million” world-record contest, which promised $1 million to anyone who caught an IGFA all-tackle world-record fish with a Mustad hook. Amazingly, Yocom and his team pulled off the impossible.

34_yellowfin tuna.at.jpg

Weight: 427 pounds

Line Class: M-130 / All Tackle

Angler: Guy Yocom

Location: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Date: Sept. 18, 2012

Fight Time: 50 minutes

Lure/Bait: Chunk bait

Tackle: Jerry Brown line; Shimano Tiagra reel; Melton rod

Captain: Greg DiStefano

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 33 — Atlantic Blue Marlin

Note the fight time — this was an extended battle with a very large marlin on light line, a 35-to-1 catch.

33_atl blue marlin_m20lb_campbell.jpg

Weight: 714 pounds, 8 ounces

Line Class: M-20

Angler: Stewart Campbell

Location: Grand Bereby, Ivory Coast

Date: July 4, 1990

Fight Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Lure/Bait: Dolphin

Tackle: Stren line; Shimano 12/20 reel; T-Bud rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 32 — Striped Marlin

A truly giant striped marlin, which has held up for nearly 30 years as the all-tackle world record.

32_striped marlin_at_boniface.jpg

Weight: 494 pounds

Line Class: M-50 / All Tackle

Angler: Bill Boniface

Location: Tutukaka, New Zealand

Date: Jan. 16, 1986

Fight Time: 1 hour

Lure/Bait: Kahawai

Tackle: Ande line; Penn International 50 reel; Wilkinson Sports rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 31 — Black Marlin

This famous catch ignited the concept of taking a fish over 1,000 pounds on rod and reel. It served as the first all-tackle world record black marlin and held firm until it was replaced by Alfred Glassell’s 1,025-pounder in 1954.

31_black marlin_lauriemitchell_1926.jpg

Weight: 976 pounds

Line Class: All Tackle (now retired)

Angler: Capt. Laurie Mitchell

Location: Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Date: 1926

Fight Time: Unknown

Lure/Bait: Unknown

Tackle: Unknown

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 30 — Pacific Blue Marlin

This catch was never recognized as an official world record, as it was shark bitten. Still, it is considered the first fish over 1,000 pounds ever landed on rod and reel — caught by one of the most famous anglers of all time.

30_pac blue marlin_1040.grey_1931.jpg

Weight: 1,040 pounds

Line Class: M-130

Angler: Zane Grey

Location: Vairao, Tahiti

Date: 1931

Fight Time: N/A

Lure/Bait: N/A

Tackle: N/A

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 29 — Black Marlin

It is believed to be the first black marlin over 1,000 pounds taken on rod and reel. While not officially recognized as an IGFA record, Schmidt was presented with a special certificate. A dogged angler, he had only one arm and one leg, resulting from a childhood injury, and fought the giant marlin for 4 hours before requiring relief on the rod when the fighting chair and harness broke. Not a record, but certainly one of fishing’s most amazing accomplishments.

29_black marlin_louis schmidt jr_black marlin_panama_1006.jpg

Weight: 1,006 pounds

Line Class: M-130

Angler: Louis Schmidt

Location: Perlas Islands, Panama

Date: June 11, 1949

Fight Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Lure/Bait: N/A

Tackle: N/A

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 28 — Bluefin Tuna

One of the great tuna records of all time. “It’s over 18-to-1, the highest-ratio tuna catch ever,” says Gary Carter. The catch even exceeds the existing men’s 50-pound record, an 897-pounder caught in Spain in 1977.

28_bluefin tuna_w50lb.jacobsen.jpg

Weight: 911 pounds

Line Class: W-50

Angler: Eryn Jacobsen

Location: Cape George, Nova Scotia, Canada

Date: September 28, 2011

Fight Time: 1 hour, 45 min.

Lure/Bait: Herring

Tackle: Momoi line; Shimano reel; Ian Miller rod

Captain: Dale “Zappa” Trenholm

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 27 — Bluefin Tuna

The biggest tuna ever caught on IGFA-regulation fly tackle.

27_bluefin tuna_mfr20lb_kistler.jpg

Weight: 196 pounds, 9 ounces

Line Class: M-20 (fly)

Angler: Bradly Kistler

Location: Morehead City, North Carolina

Date: Jan. 12, 2001

Fight Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Lure/Bait: Lefty’s Deceiver

Tackle: Rio line; Charlton 8550C reel; Sage rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 26 — Pacific Blue Marlin

The largest IGFA-record blue marlin ever caught on fly succumbed after a grueling hour-long battle with one of the world’s best blue-water fly-rodders.

26_pac blue marlin_mfr20lb_evans.jpg

Weight: 288 pounds, 12 ounces

Line Class: M-20 (fly)

Angler: Thomas M. Evans Jr.

Location: Port Stephens, Australia

Date: March 2, 2002

Fight Time: 1 hour

Lure/Bait: Profile fly

Tackle: Mason line; Charlton 8600B reel; Biscayne Bay rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 25 — Atlantic Blue Marlin

A short-lived fight, but at 70-to-1, a fabulous light-line catch.

25_atl blue marlin_m8lb_campbell.jpg

Weight: 562 pounds

Line Class: M-8

Angler: Stewart Campbell

Location: La Gomera, Spain

Date: June 4, 2002

Fight Time: 2 minutes

Lure/Bait: Mackerel

Tackle: Stren line; Shimano TLD20 reel; T-Bud rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 24 — Swordfish

The largest IGFA-record swordfish ever taken by a female angler, this fabulous record still stands after 59 years.

24_swordfish_w80lb_marron.jpg

Weight: 772 pounds

Line Class: W-80

Angler: Mrs. Louis Marron

Location: Iquiqui, Chile

Date: June 7, 1954

Fight Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Lure/Bait: Bonito

Tackle: Cortland line; Fin-Nor 12/0 reel; Harnell rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 23 — Tarpon

“The current all-tackle record is 3 pounds heavier (286 pounds, 9 ounces, caught in 2003 at Guinea-Bissau), but this fish was caught 57 years ago, before the modern-era of fishing tackle.” — Mark Sosin

23_tarpon_mariosalazar_283.jpg

Weight: 283 pounds

Line Class: M-30 / All Tackle (now retired)

Angler: Mario Salazar

Location: Venezuela

Date: March 19, 1956

Fight Time: N/A

Lure/Bait: N/A

Tackle: N/A

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 22 — Tiger Shark

A very large animal taken on relatively light line — a 45-to-1 catch. (Actual photo of record catch unavailable.)

22_tiger shark.jpg

Weight: 1,364 pounds, 10 ounces

Line Class: M-30

Angler: Glen Kirkwood

Location: Swansea, New South Wales, Australia

Date: Sept. 20, 1990

Fight Time: 2 hours

Lure/Bait: Mullet

Tackle: Platypus line; Shimano 30 reel; Butterworth Stroker rod

Mike Mazur / Sport Fishing Magazine

No. 21 — Black Marlin

The first IGFA-legal marlin over 1,000 pounds caught by a pioneering angler of the famed Cabo Blanco Fishing Club. A benchmark fish that “set the mark for all,” says Mike Leech.

21_black marlin_glassell_1025.jpg

Weight: 1,025 pounds

Line Class: M-130 / All Tackle (now retired)

Angler: Alfred Glassell Jr.

Location: Cabo Blanco, Peru

Date: April 4, 1954

Fight Time: N/A

Lure/Bait: N/A

Tackle: N/A

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 20 — Black Marlin

Better than 60-to-1 ratio on a very large marlin fought over a lengthy time period on light line — a terrific catch.

20_black marlin_m12lb_levitt.jpg

Weight: 737 pounds, 7 ounces

Line Class: M-12

Angler: Mike Levitt

Location: Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Date: Nov. 16, 1981

Fight Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Lure/Bait: Scad

Tackle: DuPont line; Penn International reel; Erskine rod

Captain: Paul Whelan

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 19 — Tarpon

The greatest IGFA fly-rod tarpon catch of all time, amazingly only 8 pounds shy of the 20-pound tippet record. An outstanding catch on 12-pound tippet, likely to never be beaten.

19_tarpon_mfr12lb_evans.jpg

Weight: 194 pounds, 8 ounces

Line Class: M-12 (fly)

Angler: Thomas M. Evans Jr.

Location: Pine Island, Florida

Date: May 10, 2010

Fight Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Lure/Bait: Brown Toad fly

Tackle: Rio line; Tibor Gulfstream reel; Biscayne 12-weight rod

Captain: Al Dopirak

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 18 — Atlantic Blue Marlin

“The first-ever (IGFA-record) Atlantic blue marlin grander that showed all big-game anglers that granders in the Atlantic were possible.” — Mike Leech

18_atl blue marlin_herrington_1142.jpg

Weight: 1,142 pounds

Line Class: M-130 (now retired)

Angler: Jack Herrington

Location: Oregon Inlet, North Carolina

Date: June 26, 1974

Fight Time: N/A

Lure/Bait: N/A

Tackle: N/A

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 17 — White Shark

The second-biggest fish ever caught on IGFA-approved tackle — caught by the same angler who holds the outright largest. The great white has since become a protected species in the region, and using marine mammals such as porpoise for bait is now an unethical practice, no matter where you fish.

17_white shark_m80lb_dean.jpg

Weight: 2,334 pounds

Line Class: M-80

Angler: Alfred Dean

Location: Streaky Bay, South Australia

Date: Nov. 6, 1960

Fight Time: 45 minutes

Lure/Bait: Porpoise

Tackle: Ashaway line; Penn 14/0 reel; Silaflex rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 16 — Atlantic Blue Marlin

Campbell holds four records in our rankings — more than anyone — and this fabulous 51-to-1 marlin catch ranks as his highest-rated.

16_atl blue marlin_m16lb_campbell.jpg

Weight: 820 pounds

Line Class: M-16

Angler: Stewart Campbell

Location: Grand Bereby, Ivory Coast, Africa

Date: April 9, 1992

Fight Time: 5 minutes

Lure/Bait: Mackerel

Tackle: Stren line; Shimano 12/30 reel; T-Bud Houston, Texas rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 15 — Striped Marlin

Enormous striped marlin on any class tackle, let alone 6-pound test. Note the brevity of the battle, an indication of highly effective coordination between angler, captain and crew. (Actual photo of record catch unavailable.)

15_striped marlin_courtesy montocchio.jpg

Weight: 385 pounds, 5 ounces

Line Class: M-6

Angler: Guy Jacobsen

Location: Poor Knight’s Island, New Zealand

Date: April 30, 2010

Fight Time: 5 minutes

Lure/Bait: Live bonito

Tackle: Momoi line; Shimano Tyrnos 2011 reel; Saltiga rod

Captain: John Batterton

Courtesy Marc Montocchio / 36north.com

No. 14 — Pacific Blue Marlin

“This record has stood for 31 years in defiance of some of the world’s best anglers and captains.” — Mike Leech

14_pac blue marlin_at_debeaubien.jpg

Weight: 1,376 pounds

Line Class: M-130 / All Tackle

Angler: Jay de Beaubien

Location: Kona, Hawaii

Date: May 31, 1982

Fight Time: 40 minutes

Lure/Bait: Kita lure

Tackle: Erskine line; Fin-Nor 12/0 reel; Erskine rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 13 — Atlantic Blue Marlin

Took the big-game fishing world by storm. Few predicted the next all-tackle record Atlantic blue would come from Brazil.

13_atl blue marlin_atl_amorin.jpg

Weight: 1,402 pounds, 2 ounces

Line Class: M-130 / All Tackle

Angler: Paulo Amorim

Location: Vitoria, Brazil

Date: Feb. 29, 1992

Fight Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Lure/Bait: Moldcraft lure

Tackle: Ande line; Penn International 80 STW reel; Capt. Harry’s rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 12 — Pacific Blue Marlin

This outstanding marlin catch of nearly 37-to-1 is made even more remarkable by the fact that Everette lost his right leg and nearly lost his right hand in an Alaskan pipeline accident 11 years earlier. “Kelley would never complain about anything,” says Raleigh Werking.

12_pac blue marlin_m30lb_everette.jpg

Weight: 1,103 pounds, 8 ounces

Line Class: M-30

Angler: Kelley Everette

Location: Kona, Hawaii

Date: June 25, 1987

Fight Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Lure/Bait: Skipjack

Tackle: Ande Tournament line; Penn International 50 reel; Custom Tom Green rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 11 — Black Marlin

One of the great all-time record catches that required a legendary quest to achieve: “She pursued this record for 7 years before success,” says Mike Leech.

11_black marlin_w20lb_mulholland.jpg

Weight: 998 pounds

Line Class: W-20

Angler: Ms. Kay Mulholland

Location: Lizard Island, Australia

Date: Oct. 23, 1982

Fight Time: 20 minutes

Lure/Bait: Scad

Tackle: Erskine Amilan line; Penn International 30 reel; Erskine & Chambers rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 10 — Black Marlin

“The only marlin grander over 50-to-1.” — Gary Carter

10_black marlin_m20lb_mahood.jpg

Weight: 1,051 pounds

Line Class: M-20

Angler: Peter Mahood

Location: Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Date: Oct. 7, 1976

Fight Time: 40 minutes

Lure/Bait: Scad

Tackle: Penn International 30 reel; custom rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 9 — Striped Marlin

A member of the ultra-rare 100-to-1 club, this catch ranks as Jacobsen’s crowning light-line achievement.

9_stried marlin_m2lb_jacobsen.jpg

Weight: 231 pounds, 7 ounces

Line Class: M-2

Angler: Guy Jacobsen

Location: Middlesex Bank, New Zealand

Date: March 8, 2009

Fight Time: 10 minutes

Lure/Bait: Live bait

Tackle: Shimano Tyrnos reel; Saltiga rod

Captain: John Batterton

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 8 — Atlantic Blue Marlin

The line tested under 4 pounds, according to former IGFA president Mike Leech, and at 160-to-1, Cloostermans’ marlin ranks as the greatest weight-to-line-strength-ratio catch of all time.

8_atl blue marlin_m4lb_cloostermans.jpg

Weight: 573 pounds

Line Class: M-4

Angler: Leo Cloostermans

Location: Azores, Portugal

Date: Aug. 1, 1995

Fight Time: 18 minutes

Lure/Bait: Squid

Tackle: Stren line; Shimano size 4 reel; Rod by Dru

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 7 — Black Marlin

The line tested well under 6 pounds, with the catch ratio settling at 146.2-to-1. How such a huge marlin could be caught on such whisper-thin line boggles the mind. A fight-time of just 15 minutes is indication that boat handling played a crucial role.

7_black marlin_m6lb_capozzi.jpg

Weight: 735 pounds, 3 ounces

Line Class: M-6

Angler: Enrico Capozzi

Location: Port Stephens, New South Wales, Australia

Date: Feb. 7, 2000

Fight Time: 15 minutes

Lure/Bait: Mackerel

Tackle: Stren Hi-Impact Gold line; Shimano TLD20 reel; Bill Boyd custom rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 6 — Tiger Shark

Caught from a pier, this legendary catch produced an epic stand-up battle for Maxwell, with more than 100 spectators cheering him on. “The fish was taking out line so fast that the reel would start smoking,” remembers Marilyn Small, who snapped the only known photographs of the shark, including this famous picture.

6_tiger shark_1780_maxwell.jpg

Weight: 1,780 pounds

Line Class: M-130

Angler: Walter Maxwell

Location: Cherry Grove, South Carolina

Date: June 14, 1964

Fight Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Lure/Bait: Skate

Tackle: Ashaway line; Penn Senator 16/0 reel; custom rod

Courtesy Marilyn Small / Cherry Grove Pier

No. 5 — White Shark

The largest fish ever taken within IGFA regulations. Period. With great whites now protected, this IGFA record is destined to stand for the ages.

5_white shark_at_dean.jpg

Weight: 2,664 pounds

Line Class: M-130 / All Tackle

Angler: Alfred Dean

Location: Ceduna, South Australia

Date: April 21, 1959

Fight Time: 1 hour

Lure/Bait: Porpoise

Tackle: Ashaway line; Penn 14/0 reel; Fiberglass rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 4 — Swordfish

Even with today’s massive recreational pressure on swordfish, Marron’s giant remains the only IGFA record for this species over 1,000 pounds. “This record may well be unbeatable even with modern-day tackle, ”says former IGFA president Mike Leech.

4_swordfish_at_marron.jpg

Weight: 1,182 pounds

Line Class: M-130 / All Tackle

Angler: Louis Marron****

Location: Iquiqui, Chile

Date: May 7, 1953

Fight Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes

Lure/Bait: Bonito

Tackle: Cortland line; Fin-Nor 12/0 reel; Black Palm rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 3 — Bluefin Tuna

What a monster! Fraser’s famous 1,496-pound bluefin ranks as the largest IGFA-record tuna ever caught. Though it is a relatively recent catch, it's also “another record that will likely never be beaten,” according to Mike Leech.

3_bluefin tuna_at_fraser.jpg

Weight: 1,496 pounds

Line Class: M-130 / All Tackle

Angler: Ken Fraser

Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

Date: Oct. 26, 1979

Fight Time: 45 minutes

Lure/Bait: Mackerel

Tackle: Garcia line; Penn International reel; Fenwick rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 2 — Black Marlin

This is the largest IGFA-record marlin ever caught by a female angler. Mrs. Hughes' huge black is bested only by Alfred Glassell’s famous 1,560-pounder, taken at Cabo Blanco a year earlier. Hughes, a New York public-relations account executive (then known as Kimberly Wiss) had only caught a few mahi in her fishing lifetime before latching into this epic fish.

2_black marlin_kimberley wiss mrs. charles hughes 1525 black 4-54 cabo.jpg

Weight: 1,525 pounds

Line Class: W-130

Angler: Mrs. Charles Hughes

Location: Cabo Blanco, Peru

Date: April 22, 1954

Fight Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Lure/Bait: Mackerel

Tackle: Ashaway line; Penn Senator 14/0 reel; Tycoon rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

No. 1 — Black Marlin

It stands as the largest marlin ever caught on IGFA regulation tackle. Glassell was a famed sportsman who fished the world over and helped found the legendary Cabo Blanco Fishing Club in Peru. Throughout the 1950s, Cabo Blanco produced the greatest scores of giant marlin the planet had ever seen — and this fish was the grandest of them all, ranked by our experts as Sport Fishing’s greatest IGFA world-record catch of all time.

1_black marlin_at_glassell.jpg

Weight: 1,560 pounds

Line Class: W-130

Angler: Alfred Glassell Jr.

Location: Cabo Blanco, Peru

Date: April 22, 1954

Fight Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Lure/Bait: Mackerel

Tackle: Ashaway line; Fin-No 12/0 reel; Tycoon rod

Courtesy IGFA / igfa.org

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