Andrew Plumridge, 41, landed a possible world-record catch-and-release common carp on his second-ever ice fishing trip. The massive 32-pound, two-ounce fish was Plumridge’s first catch on rod and reel. The Sharon, Massachusetts bank auditor was part of a group fishing the Housatonic River on January 31. The group was guided by former professional angler Paul Tawczynski, who said the fish was the biggest carp he had ever pulled out of water in his career.
“I knew right away when it came out of the hole that at the very least, a pin fish,” Tawczynski told OutdoorHub, referring to the bronze and gold pins that Massachusetts anglers are rewarded with when they land especially large fish.
The day started off slow, and Tawczynski said that several hours went without so much as a splash. Towards the end of the trip he noticed the telltale flash of carp, and advised the anglers to change equipment. Common carp have been in Massachusetts for more than a century. While they are still generally considered an invasive species, many anglers now consider them a native fish in the Housatonic. The anglers had a rough time landing any of the carp at first, which Tawczynski said was due to the hooks falling out too easily.
“We were just about to pick up and call it a day when I saw Andrew’s rod bend over real hard,” he recalled. “I had to coach him on how to pump the fish, not to over-reel the drag, [and] how to keep it tip-up or tip-down when necessary. I actually had the line going through my fingers so I could feel the fish move.”
The battle took half an hour, during which the anglers became increasing aware of how large the carp was. The fish was difficult to reel in, retreating deeper into the icy water every so often. Finally, Tawczynski was able to grab it by the gills and squeeze it through the eight-inch hole in the ice. The guide said that neither he or Plumridge had any idea it could be a world record.
Part of the reason for that is because there has never been a recognized catch-and-release carp record. The category is a new one being recorded by the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. Most carp records are catch-and-keep records, due to the fact that most species of carp are considered invasive and even illegal to put back in the water. In the Housatonic, however, Tawczynski said it is an accepted and encouraged practice.
“I had no idea it might be a world record until the head of my pro staff called me up to tell me ‘by the way, the fish that you posted pictures of is the new world record,'” Tawczynski shared.
The fish was placed on a wet towel and taken to be weighed, after which it was returned back to the water. The entire process took less than an hour.
“Definitely an amazing, amazing catch,” Tawczynski added. “Andrew’s first catch on rod-and-reel and now possibly a world record.”
The Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame will take several weeks to process Plumridge’s catch before it sees the record books. For now, Tawczynski says it’s catches like these that makes him love his job.
“I get to experience the joy of a first time angler almost every day,” he said. “Fish that other fishermen would put back and never bat an eyelash at gets that first time angler so excited and so pumped that they want to come back over and over. I get to not only experience that but be responsible for it, so that keeps my energy level up as well.”
Of course, a world record will make any angler excited. You can watch Tawczynski bring up the carp in the video below: