How fast things can change.  The sun sets, the current slacks, and the bite drops off. But this crew of anglers is still feeling good. Based on radio reports, the LIL’ ANGLER II is still well ahead of the rest of the fleet. Remaining patient, the current starts to flood again, improving fishing conditions.

I forgot to mention that when we started to catch our previous fish, we became an instant magnet that attracted other boats.  As darkness sets in, we're surrounded by other boats filled with fishermen, and nothing is happening.  Radio chatter indicates that two other boats have each caught one fish each.  As the slow pace continues at this location, other boats begin moving out.  It is now just us and one other boat, and I have not moved since we dropped the hook.  It pays off.

Colby sees a slight tap on the rods, picks it up, and FISH ON!  But while it's looking like our luck has turned back on, believe me the transition from windshield to 'bug' begins.  The fish is fighting hard, and running into the current.  Colby is a novice to fishing, but is doing a fantastic job fighting the fish. To this point, the drum has done nothing spectacular, and our shields are down.  Just then, the fish makes another run that keeps going.  The rods are loaded with 30lb braid with a little mono underneath.  In the heat of battling this drum, the comment is made that the reel was now down to the mono backer.  The mate tells Colby to tighten the drag slightly, but Colby did not understand, so the mate adjusts the drag.  It is this innocent, yet critical motion that has now made us the 'bug,' and we don’t even know it.  The battle continues with several more drag adjustments, by both the mate and me (the Captain).  The fish gets closer to the boat and breaks the surface, and making John’s previous 54.75 pounder look like a minnow.  At this point, I realize we could be the 'bug.'  The fish is finally landed. It is huge.

The IGFA is developing a smartphone app that will identify a fish when you take a photo of it with your smartphone.  I have been taking photos of all black drum caught to contribute to the development effort.

The IGFA has an All Tackle Length Live Release category that includes black drum.  The current record is held by Dr. Julie Ball of Virginia, caught in May of 2011, measuring 121 cm.  When we put the fish on the IGFA ruler, it measures 122 cm, and would otherwise be considered a tie to the current world record for a released black drum. To officially retire an old record, the new fish must measure 2 cm greater, or it is considered a tie.  To explain that our excitement for this amazing catch would be matched by disappointment, would be an understatement.

You see, our fish did not qualify for a tie, because someone other than the angler touched the reel.  The simple act of adjusting the drag disqualified the fish.  Hence we are now the 'bug,' flattened on the windshield of life.  Photos were taken in accordance with IGFA standards to quiet any doubters, and Colby released the giant drum over the transom to live another day.  While disappointing, I am equally encouraged to know that drum records can be tied or beaten right here in the Delaware Bay.  And on what started out as an everyday, typical charter trip, I also learned a valuable lesson; you never know what is on the end of the line, and all hook ups should be treated as potential records

 

 

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Capt Brian is the ONLY Captain in Delaware recommended by The International Game Fish Association (IGFA).

The IGFA is the overseer of recreational fishing worldwide.

The IGFA is a not-for-profit organization committed to the conservation of game fish and the promotion of responsible, ethical angling practices through science, education, rule making and record keeping. 

Visit their website at www.IGFA.org.

Become a member and keep current with fishing activities worldwide as well as their considerable influence on our behalf concerning issues that affect our beloved sport.