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THE WEIGHT OF GAME FISH
MR. WILLIAM H. WOOD, the pioneer of tarpon fishing, who in 1885 landed the first tarpon, was the originator of the formula for estimating the weight of a tarpon when first taken from the water.
800 = weight
This formula gives the approximate weight of almost every kind of fish of no matter what shape or size, excepting the sunfish (Mola).
Probably not more than twelve tarpon have been taken that weighed 200 pounds or more.
The record fish for an amateur in Florida is still, as far as I know, Edward Vom Hofe’s tarpon taken at Captiva Pass on April 30th, 1898, weighing 210 pounds and measuring 6 feet 11 inches in length and 45 inches in girth.
My best fish measured 7 feet 2 inches but, being very thin, weighed only 187 pounds.
Doctor Howe is said to have landed a tarpon at Tampico, Mexico, that tipped the scales at 223 pounds.
I saw a tarpon at Miami, Florida, on May 17th, 1904, that had been taken near Tea Table by Charlie Thompson, a professional fisherman, and was told it weighed 224 pounds.
The tarpon is an elusive fish yet at times great scores have been made.
Mr. L. C. Murphy took 25 tarpon in one day’s fishing at Aransas Pass, and Mr. B. W. Crowinshield accomplished a like feat at Boca Grande.
On one of my trips to Cuba I fished the flood tides for three consecutive days and “jumped” 54 tarpon, and on another occasion played 14 small fish in one hour’s fishing.
Mr. and Mrs. Magill, on a cruise along the west coast of Florida in the spring of 1915, captured 176 tarpon that weighed 16,377 pounds. The heaviest fish weighed 196½ pounds, eleven weighed over 180 each, and forty over 150 pounds. This is the most extraordinary fishing I ever heard of.
I find that in the long run the fish will average 100 pounds.
There were 785 tarpon weighed at Useppa Island in 1917 and but 23 of them were 150 pounds or more in weight.
It is now customary to free the hooked fish when possible, which is not always the most humane action, for a tired tarpon is easy prey for the ever watchful piratical shark.
The Striped Bass
THE striped bass have almost disappeared as game fish. Being migratory fish and traveling in schools, they have been so depleted by excessive netting that it is now difficult to obtain large specimens.
Jordan relates that: “At one haul of the net in Albemarle Sound 820 bass weighing 37,000 pounds were taken. Among them were many of 65 pounds, many of 85, and a few of 90 pounds.”
The largest striped bass of authentic record that I personally know of, taken with rod and reel, weighed 70 pounds. This fish was taken by Mr. William Post at Graves Point, Newport, R. I., on July 5th, 1873. It was a long, thin, and emaciated fish that would have weighed 100 pounds in normal condition.
I am told that Mr. Charles Church landed a bass a few years since near Cutty Hunk that weighed 76 pounds.
The largest average catch of bass that I know of was ten fish 58, 56, 54, 53, 51, 49, 46, 42 and 36 pounds respectively-----an average of 49½ pounds. This catch was made at Graves Point by Mr. Seth Barton French and Mr. John Whipple on August 21st, 1881, between 6 and 11 A.M., in a heavy sea and on a rising tide.
Mr. Thomas Winans and his nephew took in three months’ fishing, from stands built on the rocks in front of his house at Newport, 124 bass that weighed 2,921 pounds, the largest being a fish of 60 pounds.
Catches of bass weighing from 85 to over 100 pounds each are said to have been made in the Chesapeake seine-fishing.
The striped bass was unknown in the waters of the Pacific Ocean until 1875 when the first fingerlings were liberated in San Francisco Bay. They have prospered there. “Statistics gathered for 1900 show 1,251,000 pounds in the San Francisco markets in that year.” The largest fish taken on rod and reel weighed 62½ pounds.
propagation of the striped bass has never been a pronounced success owing to the
difficulty of obtaining the ripe male fish.
THE largest salmon I ever saw was a Tyee taken on a handline at Campbell River, Vancouver Island, weighing 72 pounds. The Tyee are said to weigh over 100 pounds, yet “no fish weighing 80 pounds had ever been brought to the cannery at Valdez Island.”
I took 2,179 pounds of salmon in fifteen days in Discovery Strait at Campbell River, including 47 Tyee that averaged 43 pounds. The largest fish weighed 60 pounds.
In Canada the heaviest salmon I know of was the 54 pound fish taken in the Cascapedia River.
The Newfoundland record is a fish of 41½ pounds from the Codroy River in 1910.
Between 1880 and 1919, 25,824 salmon were taken by the members of the Ristigouche Salmon Club in Canada. These fish weighed 456,257 pounds and averaged 17.16 pounds. Three thousand seven hundred and six of them tipped the scales at over 25 pounds each.
The record British salmon was supposed to be the 84 pound fish taken from the Tay, but a few years ago the Scottish Fisheries Board expert reported that “an illicitly caught salmon had been taken in the Forth that weighed 103 pounds.” He explained that “the matter was kept secret because the possession of the fish was fraught with a certain amount of danger to the captors.”
Catalina Island Records
The greatest number of tuna taken in one day was Mr. Boschen’s catch of 13 fish weighing 985 pounds.
My best day, with a plain reel without a drag, was 5 tuna that weighed 491 pounds.
Only 20 swordfish have been taken.
Mr. J. K. L. Ross landed a tuna at St. Ann’s Bay, C. B., on August 28th, 1911, that weighed 680 pounds twenty four hours later at Sydney. It measured 8 feet 10 inches in length by 6 feet 3 inches in girth.
Mr. L. D. Mitchell landed a tuna a few years later that weighed 710 pounds. This fish was taken near Medway, Nova Scotia.
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