Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Potential world record fly rod redfish caught from kayak

Photo by Joe Underwood, courtesy of IGFA
Without question, Louisiana is the redfish capital of the world. But when it comes to bull reds on fly, Virginia has quite a legacy. Many years ago, I worked with Stuart Lee, who was our accounting manager at the Richmond office. At the time, Stuart held two fly rod world records for red drum. Both caught in Virginia's fabled Eastern Shore waters of Chesapeake Bay.

Currently, Louisiana holds the IGFA fly rod record for 20 pound tippet -  a 41.65 pounder taken by Conway Bowman out of Hopedale while guided by Capt. Gregg Arnold. But that record is now in jeopardy.

On May 14th, well-known kayak angler Rob Choi of Richmond Virginia was fly fishing the Eastern Shore from his yak using a Half-and-Half (half Clouser, half Deceiver) when he hooked and landed a 53-pound redfish.  After weighing it on an approved measuring device, the fish was released. The record application documents and photographs have been sent off to IGFA, where they are currently under review.

Not many details were given about how Choi was fishing, but I can share what Stuart shared with me about Eastern Shore. A lot of bull reds congregate into deep flats during late Spring and early Summer. The fish can be seen at times, and a sinking line with a baitfish pattern - and a lot of patience - is the key to success on these big brutes.  While it's not the type of fly fishing Louisiana redfish anglers are used to, it's effective and the fight is just as fun.