Fish of many different sizes and species have had their moment in the sun this year — as have the fishermen who reeled them in.
From all over the country, recreational anglers caught their fair share of remarkable fish that have been worthy of new records in many cases.
As 2023 comes to a close, here are 10 record-breaking catches that made headlines.
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Diving right in to this list …
Eleven days after Scott Skafar caught a record-breaking 10.2 pound burbot in Lake Michgan, Phillip Duracz of Chesterton, a town in Porter County, challenged that record with one of his own.
Duracz reeled in an 11.4-pound burbot from the same body of water as Skafar on Tuesday, Jan. 10, according to a press release issued by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Skafar broke the state’s 32-year-old record — and Duracz made a new one in only a matter of days.
Thomas Francis broke Idaho’s 13-year-old northern pike fishing record after reeling in 40.76-pound northern pike from Hayden Lake in North Idaho, according to a press release and Facebook post shared by the Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG).
On Friday, March 24, the IDGF revealed that Francis caught the record-breaking pike, which measured 49 inches in length and 26.5 inches in girth.
He beat the old record by more than half a pound.
Brad Lila, of Hudson Township, tied Minnesota’s established catch-and-release record for northern pike, according to officials at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The angler caught a northern pike that measured 46.25 inches in length and 23.66 inches in girth on Jan. 22.
Lila caught and released his record-tying pike from the Mille Lacs Lake in Aitkin County.
The Kansas state fishing record for a smallmouth buffalo was finally beaten after 44 years.
Thayne Miller, from Topeka, Kansas, recently caught a 64.75-pound smallmouth buffalo from the Clinton Reservoir, five miles west of the City of Lawrence on the K-10 Highway.
Miller’s record-breaking catch measured 45.25 inches in length and 35 inches in girth.
A group of anglers in North Carolina spent an afternoon on the water hoping to catch a swordfish — but wound up reeling in something rare and set a record in the process.
On April 21, Jeremiah Elliott, 31, owner of Geronimo Tackle, was joined by Zachary Elliott, his brother, and his fishing buddies, Chandler Butler and Trevor Burns, on his 30-foot regulator center console 60 miles out from the shores of Morehead, North Carolina, Jeremiah Elliott told Fox News Digital.
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Elliott reeled in a “prehistoric looking” bigscale pomfret weighing 26 pounds and 11.4 ounces.
The weight is noted in the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ state record media release.
Owen Schaad, a resident of Cheyenne, received official recognition from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department (WGFD) after reeling in a 31-inch, near 12-pound tiger trout, according to a press release issued by the wildlife agency.
The 11.93-pound fish was caught from the Viva Naughton Reservoir near the City of Kemmerer in Lincoln County, has beaten the old state record, which had been set in 2012.
The previous record, 11.07-pound tiger trout, was caught from the High Savery Reservoir in Rawlins, Wyoming.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) confirmed that Micka Burkhart, 44, of Big Rock, Tennessee, beat his own record with a catfish that weighed 122 pounds and three ounces — making this his second record-breaking catch this past year.
Burkhart caught the massive catfish from the Barkley Reservoir in Stewart County, measuring 57.5 inches in length and 42.5 inches in girth, according to a press release.
Burkhart caught his previous record a month before the 122-pound catfish, but the certification and official record process was officially completed only days before setting the new record.
Wade La Fontaine, a Washington angler, reeled in a fish that he said was like “winning the lottery.”
Fontaine caught an exotic 21-pound, 48-inch long mahi mahi nearly 42 miles off the coast of Washington, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
“To get one of those exotic species — I prayed for that for 10 years,” Fontaine told Fox News Digital.
An angler and a professional guide set four new records after reeling in a massive alligator gar in East Texas.
Art Weston and Kirk Kirkland knew they were dealing with something large, but it wasn’t until the two-hour-and-20-minute mark that they realized just how large this beast was.
Once the duo returned to land, the alligator gar was placed on a scale and the number hit 283 pounds.
“It broke the existing Texas state record. It broke the water body record. It broke the International Game Fish Association all-tackle world record. And it broke the 6-pound line class record,” Kirkland shared with Fox News Digital.
A Massachusetts angler has established a new fishing record in the state of North Carolina.Matthew Frattasio was aboard Riptide Charters, under the direction of Captain Terry Nugent, when he reeled in a 26-pound, 15.6-ounce almaco jack near Morehead City, according to a press release issued by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
Matthew Frattasio was aboard Riptide Charters, under the direction of Captain Terry Nugent, when he reeled in a 26-pound, 15.6-ounce almaco jack near Morehead City, according to a press release issued by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
There is no previous record for the almaco jack in North Carolina, but this fish is a large catch when compared to some other state records.
Cortney Moore contributed reporting.
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