James R. Bramlett, 65, went fishing last Thursday at Black Warrior River near Dora, Alabama. What makes this occasion unique was that Bramlett–a retired ironworker–didn’t usually fish on Thursdays, but did so because of a conflicting hospital appointment for his wife. So Bramlett went early, and hooked a 70-pound, 45.5-inch long striped bass.
According to Georgia Outdoor News, this make Bramlett’s catch the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world record for land-locked striped bass. The current IGFA record stands at 67 pounds, 8 ounces and has stood for nearly 21 years. In addition to international fame, the bass also overtook the Alabama state record that has been unchallenged since 1959.
“To catch a fish that breaks a 54-year-old state record is one thing, but to shatter that record by 15 pounds is something else,” said state biologist Heath Haley. “Mr. Bramlett is a humble man. He’s the kind of person you love to see do something like this.”
Al.com reports that Bramlett sighted the behemoth bass when it was rolling lazily across the water chasing after shad. He knew then that he had the chance of a lifetime. Quickly grabbing his Ugly Stik rod with an Ambassador 7000 reel, Bramlett cast a 10-inch gizzard shad towards the bass. The fish took to the bait and engaged the angler in a 20-minute battle before being reeled in.
“I couldn’t gain any line on him,” said Bramlett. “In fact it just sat there for a while. I was trying to get him up, trying to get reels on him but I take a few turns of the handle, he’d take a few turns of the handle. This went on for 10 minutes probably. All at once I started gaining line on him, just a little bit at a time. Eventually I got him up.”
So far Bramlett has taken all the appropriate steps towards record certification, a process that could take several months. Photos and requisite documentation have been sent to both the state and IGFA, but this is one fish tale better seen for yourself: