Who’s Name Goes in the Record Book

by Tony Bishop on November 27, 2008

I get a lot of questions and some I can even answer, or find an answer, for my Answers page.

But this question was very interesting:

I have two friends that went fishing in the Michigan U.P., USA. and on this particular trip landed a very large Muskie.  The first fisherman owns the cottage on the lake and has caught Muskies before, the second none.  As you listen to their individual stories they both claim to have caught the same fish.  Both took separate pictures holding it, both plan on having their own mounts made, both continue to brag about catching it.

I was raised in believing that a fish is caught by one fisherman, the person who hooked it, while the other person being a participant by netting the fish or holding the pole while the fisherman that hooked it brings it into the boat is just a witness or bystander.  Boy…. did the arguments start.  

I asked them if it was a record holder who’s name would it go under?  I can’t seem to get a straight answer to that question either as they each said themselves.  Can two people be listed as the catchee?

Even though it was just the two of them and not a charter, the second fisherman tells me that when a boat is chartered everyone on board catches all the fish.  Is this true?  Can you help me sort the rules out….  

Thanks, Curt    aka… milwpacker

Here was my answer:

On one hand, it is just great that two friends got such a kick out of catching the fish – and if they both want a mount of the fish that is their choice – whatever floats their boat, I say. If both of them believe the fish would not have been boated without the active participation of each of them, then that is for them to call.

But on the other hand, and it is a big but, as far as records go, only the angler who hooks, plays and lands the fish can claim the record, and only that one angler’s name can go in the record book.

This applies to all fishing records, even big game fishing, where the active involvement of all the crew is necessary to boat the fish, but only the one angler’s name is recorded . So your comment about everyone other than the angler playing the fish being just a bystander is I am afraid way short of the mark as well. It may well be that the angler could not boat the fish without the aid of one or more other people in the boat.

In fact it is usually true that a big game angler would not be able to get the fish to the boat without the skipper moving the boat around to help recover line, prior to all the crew action at the end. This can also apply in small boat fishing.

So, I am not sure if this clears anything up, except the one-name one-record business, but this has been one of the more interesting questions I have received.

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