By Montana Grant

Posted: March 26, 2023

If Old Walter, Moby Dick, or Big ED end up in your net, you may have a record book fish. This means that you may want to get this fish Certified. Here are some thigs to consider if you hook up with the Mother of All Fish!

Remember that you must be the only one handling the rod. Do not share in the fight. This will disqualify your record status. A gaff or net assist is acceptable. Have witnesses record or document the event.

Weigh the fish on a certified scale. This means that you need to go to the FWP or DNR office. Some sporting goods stores, butchers, grocers, and marinas may have certified scales. The fish must be weighed in front of 2 witnesses. Record names and contact information. You can ‘t witness your own fish.

Measurements are critical. The girth, length, and fork length are vital.

Photograph everything. Place the fish on a flat surface. Laying a tape or ruler beside the fish is helpful. Also photograph the angler with the fish.

Document any unusual spots, scars, or features.

A professional fisheries biologist or taxidermist must also examine the fish. Their observations must be documented. Your fish could be a hybrid or…

Never cut the fish open. Allow an agent to open the fish after weighing. Some anglers add weight to the fish, then cut it open to remove.

If you will be applying for a line-class record, clip a line sample and send it in with the application. Save the first 50 feet of the reels line for testing. For a fly-fishing record, the IGFA requires the entire leader and fly. Wrap the line/leader onto a notched piece of cardboard.

Most agencies require your record application within 60 days of the catch. Check your local or destination agencies for additional rules and requirements.

Any variation from state, agencies, or club guidelines will void the record application.

Montana Grant

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