James R. Bramlett, 65, of Dora, Alabama, landed a 70-pound striped bass that shattered a 54-year-old state record and could put him in the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) book of world records for the heaviest striper ever caught in a landlocked fishery. Bramlett caught the fish from the Black Warrior River Feb. 28. He was fishing near a warm-water outlet from the Gorgas Steam Plant near Parrish, northwest of Birmingham.
The potbellied monster, weighed on a certified scale by ADCNR biologist Heath Haley, went 70 pounds even, exceeding the former Alabama record by remarkable 15 pounds. The former record had stood over 50 years.
Bramlett told Joe Songer of AL.com that he credits his wife, Janice, for urging him to go fishing. She was scheduled to undergo a hospital procedure in a few days and would need him to be around and take care of her.
The striper measured 45.5 inches long and boasted a girth of 37.75.
According to Songer, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has already approved the catch as a state record. If approved by the IGFA it'll become a new world record. The approval process typically takes several months and involves affidavits certifying the catch as well as samples of the line and photos of the fish.
The current IGFA record for landlocked stripers is a 67-pound, 8-ounce specimen landed in 1992 in Los Banos, California.
Bramlett said he saw the huge fish roll on the surface, so he tossed a bait and soon hooked up. The battle lasted 20 minutes and as soon as Bramlett could secure the catch, he telephoned his wife to share the news about the memorable catch--and, presumably, to thank her for persuading him to spend the day fishing.