The 20 Greatest Fish Caught in 2021


Who doesn’t like a big fish story? Properly, these are the greatest fish tales of 2021. Some really spectacular long-standing information have been damaged this yr, together with a 43-year-old Michigan state-record chinook and a 64-year-old Minnesota muskie document. There have been additionally some lesser-known however equally spectacular information caught—such because the bowfishing world-record paddlefish and a spearfishing world-record halibut. Out of the thousands and thousands of fish caught this yr, solely 20 trophies made this checklist. These are the very best of greatest.

1. The California Slab

A crappie fisherman shows a near world record crappie.
David Burruss with the California state document crappie. Terry Knight

In one of many first information to fall in 2021, California angler David Burruss boated an absolute slab of a black crappie in February. The 4-pound, 5.44-ounce black crappie toppled the earlier document, which was a 4-pound, 1-ounce fish that had stood for 46 years. Burruss caught the fish in Northern California’s Clear Lake, which is understood for its huge largemouths, however fairly clearly additionally holds some monster panfish.

2. Newbie’s Luck

Michigan Record Chinook salmon
Captain Bobby Sullivan helps Luis Martinez (heart) raise his record-breaking Chinook landed, whereas the angler’s sister, Abe Martinez, exhibits off a 12-pounder. David Lemaster

Numerous die-hard salmon anglers would’ve cherished to interrupt Michigan state document chinook, however that’s not what occurred. On a constitution journey in August, teenager Luis Martinez caught his first ever salmon—and it was a 47.86-pounder that went down as the most important king ever caught within the Nice Lakes. The earlier Michigan state document was a 46.6-pounder that was caught again in 1978.

3. World-Document Paddlish

Steve Harris, Jr. with world-record paddlefish
Montana’s Steve Harris, Jr. exhibits off his new bowfishing world-record paddlefish. Steve Harris, Jr.

This yr, the famed Yellowstone River produced a world document. It wasn’t a trout however a gigantic 92-pound paddlefish. Bowfisherman Steve Harris, Jr. didn’t snag the paddlefish, as many anglers do, however arrowed it when it rose to the floor of a deep pool.

4. Grouper Effort

man holds large orange fish with blue speckles
Tamás Trexler’s IGFA world document coralgrouper weighed 31 kilos and seven ounces. Tamás Trexler

This isn’t your customary grouper. Tamás Trexler boated an unimaginable specimen whereas on trip in Egypt this September—a 31-pound, 7-ounce world record roving coralgrouper. The beautiful fish almost doubled the present IGFA world document. “The chew was very robust,” Trexler advised F&S. “The fish pulled with elemental power.”

5. A Document Catfish…On a Fly Rod

man wearing cowboy holds dark colored catfish for picture
The 31-pound cat was landed on 12-pound tippet. Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries

You don’t see many individuals efficiently focusing on catfish on a fly rod, not to mention one this huge. Texas angler Ben Christensen is one thing of an knowledgeable at focusing on catfish on the fly. This fall, he sight fished to a 31-pound blue catfish that’s a water physique document for the Pedernales River, in addition to an IGFA 12-pound tippet-class document. And he did it on a 4-weight.

6. Golden Woman

Girl holding record golden trout next to a lake.
Caroline Might Evans together with her document golden trout. Joseph Putnam Evans

This 2-pound golden trout can be a powerful catch for an angler of any age, not to mention a 4-year-old. Caroline May Evans landed the beauty simply earlier than her fifth birthday on a backcountry fishing journey in Wyoming’s Wind River Vary together with her dad and mom this summer time. The fish is a document within the Worldwide Recreation Fish Affiliation’s (IGFA) 10-and-under Smallfry division.

7. Panfish of the Yr

The Most Impressive Record Fish Caught in 2021
Thomas Farchione’s sunfish weighed greater than 6 kilos.

Angler Thomas Farchione goes to want an even bigger pan. He caught an incredible 6.3-pound IGFA world record redear sunfish from Arizona’s Lake Havasu this Might. The slab was 17-inches lengthy with a girth of 20 inches.

8. Freediving Only for the…Halibut

The Most Impressive Record Fish Caught in 2021
Lisa Stengel together with her world-record halibut. James Ferrara photograph by way of Fb

This one’s undeniably epic. A 32-year-old girl from Fort Lauderdale speared a 71.4-pound halibut while freediving in 46-degree water simply south of Homer, Alaska. The fish has been confirmed as the brand new Worldwide Underwater Spearfishing Affiliation (IUSA) document holder for Pacific halibut within the Girls Sling/Polespear class.

9. Bluegill for the Win

Man holding record bluegill fish.
Wendell Mathis along with his document bluegill. Randy Weathersby

That is the smallest document fish on our checklist, however that doesn’t imply it isn’t spectacular. Georgia angler Wendell Mathis caught a bluegill that weighed nearly a pound and a half (1-pound, 7.8-ounces, to be exact) that simply beat out a decade-old Georgia Out of doors Information document. The bait? A cricket.

10. Monster Muskie

Two men pose with giant muskie at night
Nolan Sprengeler’s document muskie weighed over 55 kilos. Nolan Sprengeler

Nolan Sprengeler needed to break the ice—actually—to boat the brand new Minnesota state document muskie. He and his buddies have been fishing Lake Mille Lacs this November, proper earlier than the lake iced for winter. They needed to smash some ice on the boat launch, nevertheless it was value it. Sprengeler landed a 55-pound, 14.8-ounce monster on the final forged of the evening, breaking a extremely sought-after 64-year document. “Muskies are the last word predators,” stated Sprengeler. “They’re the last word fishing problem… I can’t even describe how excited all of us have been.”

11. Oldest Fish Ever?

A man holds up a large, bigmouth buffalo fish.
North Dakota State College researcher Alec Lackmann with a 112-year-old bigmouth buffalo. NDSU

Virtually each fishing document has to do with the scale of the fish, however that’s not the case with this one. Final spring, Alec Lackmann caught a bigmouth buffalo that was estimated to be 112-years-old, making it the oldest freshwater fish on document.

12. The Empire State Crappie

The Most Impressive Record Fish Caught in 2021
Roy Isaac exhibits off his document panfish. Risa Getman

New York angler Roy Isaac caught a state record 4-pound, 7-ounce white crappie whereas fishing at a non-public lake referred to as Sleepy Hole. Isaac’s crappie not solely smashed the earlier state document, which was a 3-pound 13-ouncer, nevertheless it’s the most important crappie ever caught in New York, because it additionally topped the present state document black crappie, which is 4-pounds and 1-ounce. “It was a pleasant battle on 4-pound-test, consider me,” stated Isaac. “That boy had been there a very long time.”

13. Bucket Mouth

potential world record bighead carp
This bighead carp’s head is much from the one a part of it that’s “huge.” Missouri Division of Conservation

Bighead carp are an invasive fish plaguing waters all through the U.S., so it’s good once we can rejoice their removing. Bowfisherman Matt Neuling arrowed a gargantuan 125-pound, 5-ouncer in July. It’s a Missouri state document within the alternate strategies class and in addition tops the Bowfishing Affiliation of America‘s current world document bighead. “We knew what sort of fish it was, however we had by no means seen one which measurement,” stated Neuling. “This factor is a straight-up monster. A five-gallon bucket might simply slot in its mouth.”

14. The Document That May’ve Been

Alonso Ordaz with his giant New Mexico blue cat.
Alonso Ordaz along with his big New Mexico blue cat. Alonso Ordaz

This one isn’t truly an official document, nevertheless it fairly probably might’ve been. Teenager Alonso Ordaz boated a monster blue cat that tipped the scales at 55-pounds, which put it in rivalry to beat the state document of 54.25 kilos. However Ordaz and his pals launch the fish as a substitute. Both manner, it’s one hell of a catfish.

15. Idaho Metal

The Most Impressive Record Fish Caught in 2021
Scott Turner with the brand new Idaho catch-and-release state document steelhead.

Scott Turner landed an Idaho catch-and-release state document steelhead this yr—for the second time. He first set the document in 2017 with a 36-incher, which was damaged in 2019 by one other angler (after which one other). Turner reclaimed his title this year with a beautiful 39.25-inch steelhead. He’s the one particular person in Idaho historical past to set a state catch-and-release steelhead document twice.

16. A Large Large Sky Brown Trout

A man holds up a gigantic brown trout.
Robbie Dockter along with his new state Montana state document brown trout. Robbie Dockter

That is hands-down one of the vital spectacular document catches of the yr. Montana is understood for its trout fishing, and the state lived as much as that repute when Robbie Dockter landed a 32.43-pound brown trout on the Marias River in March that broke a state document set in 1966. The most effective half? He was utilizing one of the vital iconic trout lures of all time—a Kastmaster. And he did it on 4-pound take a look at line.

17. Lunker Peacock Bass

man holds large peacock bass
This lunker peacock bass broke a state document that was set in 1993. FWC

Florida is dwelling to numerous peacock bass—and the most important one in state historical past was caught this yr. Felipe Prieto caught the nearly 10-pound monster while fishing a Broward County pond in October. “I simply pitched to a random spot and the road began peeling out of my arms at 100 miles an hour,” he says. “Once I set the hook, I might really feel that I had a very huge fish on.”

18. Prehistoric Alligator Gar

Woman in light blue shirt holding alligator gar just above water surface
Jennifer Schall’s document gar was so huge it was tough to raise out of the water for a grip and grin. Courtesy photograph

This freshwater monster was too huge for one particular person to carry out of the water. Angler Jennifer Schall landed the brute—a 132-pound alligator gar. It’s an IGFA 50-pound take a look at class world document and goes down as one of many largest freshwater fish information ever recorded by a feminine angler. Schall caught the large on a fishing journey together with her husband, Jason, on the Trinity River in Texas. The 2 of them tallied up a complete of 13 IGFA world information on the two-week journey.

19. Tripletail Time

A small girl in life vests on boat with big black fish
It is a heck of a catch for any angler. Jay O’Brien

Six-year-old Mirabella O’Brien caught a 16-pound, 5-ounce tripletail whereas on a “daddy-daughter” fishing day together with her father, Jay O’Brien, who’s a constitution captain out of Cellular, Alabama. The fish is an IGFA Feminine Smallfry document for the species—and Mirabella hooked and reeled it to the boat all by herself. “She’s ate up with [fishing],” says Jay. “, you don’t discover many younger women which might be that ate up with it, however she simply loves it.”

20. North Carolina “Dinosaur” Blue Catfish

The Most Impressive Record Fish Caught in 2021
Rocky Baker, left, with the brand new document North Carolina blue cat. Rocky Baker

This was one in all our hottest fishing tales of the yr—for good cause. This blue catfish is a downright monster. Rocky Baker landed (and launched) the large blue cat on the Roanoke River in July. It weighed a whopping 127.1 pounds, smashing the previous record of 121 kilos. “It felt like [the fish] was pulling a Volkswagen up the river,” Baker advised F&S. “We have been like, ‘What the **** is that this?’ It was like a dinosaur, . We have been surprised.”





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