Top 3 Spring Fishing Records You Have to See to Believe
Summer fishing season is in full swing, and that means it's time to break some records! Before you go out trying for the catch of your dreams, take a moment to admire some amazing fish that you have to see to believe. Hopefully, this roundup will inspire you on your next angling adventure.
On May 14, 2023, angler Michael Wherley was out on his 16-foot bass boat on the Sasquehanna River section known as Lake Aldred, near Conestoga, Lancaster County. Baiting his rod with a live Rainbow Trout onto a large circle hook, weighted down with a 1.5-ounce sinker, Wherley cast the heavy-duty surf rod lined with 25-pound monofilament into the approximately 50-foot-deep channel.
Out on the waters with his fishing partner, Walter “Tommy” Clark, the pair had four rods out and started reeling in fish around 10 A.M. simultaneously.
“It was a little bit crazy,” said Wherley, “There was a 30-pounder, and then Tommy brought in a 45-pounder that ended up breaking the net when we tried lifting it into the boat.”
When Wherely went to reel in the third road, he was sure a monster catch was on the other end of the line.
“When it finally came to the surface, all I could think was that it was humungous!” recalled Wherley.
The 64-pound flathead was weighed in and inspected at an on-site verified tackle shop. Following the inspection, the inspector helped Wherley bring the gigantic fish down the Columbia River Park boat ramp and release it back into the river where it swam away.
“I’m really glad we were able to release the fish back into the river,” said Wherley, “I’ll enjoy this record as long as it lasts, but I’m sure it will probably be broken in a year or two, if not sooner. I’m a hundred-percent certain there are even bigger fish out there.”
On March 21, 2023 at Hayden Lake in North Idaho Thomas Francis reeled in a 40.76 pound northern pike that was 49 inches in length and 26.5 inches in girth. Francis is an avid pike enthusiasts, but nothing could have prepared him for this big moment.
“Pike is what I go after all the time. I spend almost everyday fishing for pike.” Says Francis, “As soon as the ice is off [ the lake] and until it comes back.”
The day Francis reeled in his star catch, Hayden Lake was disappointedly icy, forcing him to fish only to the edge of the ice. Casting with an 80-pound test line, the pike took to his lure as soon as it hit the bottom of the lake and started peeling drag.
“She pinned herself to the bottom and just kept going, peeling drag the whole time. I knew that wasn’t normal, and I could tell it was something special.” Francis says, “Suddenly I got a slack line, as she was coming straight up from the bottom. She came flying out of the water, and it was obvious she was a huge fish.”
As soon as the fight was over, Francis headed for the dock to try and find a boat with a scale and tape measure. When first weighed, the scale only went up to 30-lbs. and he knew he needed a bigger scale. After visiting a few places, he finally received a certified weight of 40.76 pounds.
On April 13, Paul Hefner set a new state record for Texas when he reeled in a 207-pound alligator gar from Lake Corpus Christi. Hefner is somewhat of a fishing record trailblazer, claiming to have broken the Nueces River blue catfish record with his family—four separate times. Don’t believe it? Here’s the photo:
And the love for angling runs in the family, with Hefner’s father frequenting Lake Corpus Christi since the 80s.
“As an old man once told my dad in the 80s, ‘the bigger the bait, the bigger the fish.’ In this case, it was a live 12-inch tilapia that caught the record gar.” Hefner said.
Hefner also accredited the increased river flow for his successful catch. After Hefner’s father took a few photos to mark the achievement the pair released the alligator gar back into the river.
“Alligator gar are an important part of Texas Fisheries.” Says TPWD officials, “Their ancestors have been found in Permian deposits as fossils from 215 million years ago, making them not only one of the most ancient fishes, but also truly native Texans.”
Now that we are into the summer months, that means new records are available to break! Who knows who may be included in the next iSportsman fishing record round-up?
Photo courtesy of Idaho Fish and Game.