- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Fishing writers and anglers everywhere have called the annual “World Record Game Fishes” book from the International Game Fish Association an indispensable aid and the most comprehensive piece of fishing information available. I couldn’t agree more.

So now get set for the latest version. The 2006 edition, published by the nonprofit IGFA, delivers on its promise to be the most reliable and complete source of international fishing records and fishing-related reference materials.

If you’re a member of the IGFA, you will be receiving your copy beginning this week. If you’re not a member, consider becoming one. The book comes with the $35 annual membership, which also includes online access to all the latest world fishing records on the IGFA Web site, six issues of the International Angler bimonthly news magazine and unlimited admission to the IGFA’s interactive Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum in Dania Beach, Fla.

I am an unabashed fan of the IGFA’s work because of the many times it has settled arguments and friendly wagers, not to mention the day I fished for peacock bass in one of the Amazon’s tributaries and tied into one of the red-eyed devils of the Amazon that looked like it might be a world-record contender. It wasn’t, but it was fun checking the pages of the “World Record Game Fishes” book my host kept aboard his floating hotel.

The book lists every record that has been established for nearly 400 fresh- and saltwater fishes caught on all recognized test poundage lines with conventional or fly-fishing equipment. In 2005, a record 1,234 applications were reviewed by the IGFA world records department, and of those 864 were approved, with 144 still pending. The total number of fish record categories stands at 8,950 with nearly 100,000 files.

But the latest edition of “World Record Game Fishes” features not only the thousands of world records, international angling rules and protocol for documenting a world record submission, it’s also a guide to species identification and drawings, illustrated articles and tag-and-release information. Plus, it offers a worldwide network of fishing stakeholders communicating and acting upon their passion for fisheries research and conservation.

If you think having fun trying to catch world records is confined to exotic waters, think again. An IGFA world record crappie has come from Kerr Reservoir, Va. Inshore saltwater world records have been hooked in North Carolina. The all-time world record largemouth bass and a host of line class world records come from around the United States, and Canada also is in the game with several species.

To join or to renew your IGFA membership, go to www.igfa.org or call the IGFA headquarters at 954/927-2628.

Fight to save wetlands — The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case next month that could affect the future of more than half of the country’s 100 million acres of wetlands.

The hunter/conservation group Ducks Unlimited, along with other conservation organizations and two outdoor gear retailers, filed an amicus brief to address whether the Clean Water Act protects wetlands next to small tributaries that flow into larger bodies of water.

The brief describes the importance of these wetlands and small tributaries to the future of fish and wildlife conservation and to the more than 82 million hunters, anglers and wildlife-watchers who spend $108billion annually in the United States.

For more than 30 years, the Clean Water Act protected these wetlands, and the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2004 that such adjacent wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act. That could change if the Supreme Court overturns that ruling.

“This is a serious issue for all duck hunters and the millions of Americans who understand the value of wetlands to hundreds of wildlife species, as well as the many benefits wetlands provide people,” Ducks Unlimited executive vice president Don Young said. “Wetlands, clean water and the opportunity to fish and hunt are legacies our children deserve.”

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com

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