South African angler Dean Reddy says he does not give much thought to fishing records, but his recent estimated 196-pound guitarfish would surely give the current world record a run for its money. Reddy landed the massive fish earlier this month while fishing off Kwazulu, South Africa. After a grueling two-hour battle, Reddy was able to reel in the 8-foot guitarfish in on his Daiwa Dogfight, but not before the fish took nearly 2,200 feet of line.
“The fish took about 700m of string so luckily I had 900m on the reel,” he wrote on Facebook. “Definitely a special fish for me and the biggest on my grinder setup.”
The International Game Fish Association lists only a 119-pound giant guitarfish as the all-tackle world record, which if Reddy’s calculations are correct, would be smashed by his recent catch. That fish, which was caught by Peter Lee near Seychelles in 1995, has held the world record for nearly two decades. Yet Reddy says he could have broken the record years ago, when he caught and released an even bigger 273-pound guitarfish.
“They are pound-for-pound one of the strongest-fighting flat fish,” he told GrindTV. “Great fun to target, but hard work.”
Guitarfish are found widely across tropical coastal waters, and often reside near shore buried in the sand. These dart-shaped creatures resemble a cross between a shark and a skate, and their diet consist primarily of mollusks or crustaceans. Despite their sedentary lifestyle, they are popular among anglers for their fighting prowess.
Reddy admits that he would have been honored for his fish to be listed in the world records, but decided against keeping the fish.
“A record title is not worth the life of this magnificent creature,” he wrote on Facebook.