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IGFA: Internation Game Fishing Association

The IGFA's objectives are founded on the beliefs that game fish species, related food fish, and their habitats are economic, social, recreational, and aesthetic assets which must be maintained, wisely used and perpetuated; and that the sport of angling is an important recreational, economic, and social activity which the public must be educated to pursue in a manner consistent with sound sporting and conservation practices.

The IGFA is the organisation to which Irish sea-anglers are affiliated via their clubs, assuming their clubs are members of the Irish Federation of Sea Anglers.

The IGFA is responsible for ratifying all fishing records internationally, and operate several record systems.  Even a relatively small fish, like a 60 lbs blue shark, could win you a world record if you capture it on sufficiently light tackle (line, trace, rod and reel).

IGFA World Record Requirements 

Game fish catches can only be considered for world record status if they are caught according to International Angling Rules. The following is information on world record categories, requirements, and procedures for filing claims. An application fee of $10 U.S. for members and $35 U.S. for non-members is required for each claim. All materials submitted become the property of IGFA.

World Record Categories

IGFA maintains world records for both freshwater and saltwater game fishes in line class, tippet (a.k.a. trace) class and all-tackle categories. In order to qualify for a record, a catch must be a minimum of 1 pound (.453 kg) in weight, and must outweigh the existing record by the required amount or meet the minimum weight requirements, if any, for vacant records.  No applications will be accepted for fish caught in hatchery waters or sanctuaries. The catch must not be at variance with any laws or regulations governing the species or the waters in which it was caught. When an additional species of game fish is made eligible for IGFA world records, the effective date will be announced. Fishes caught on or after the effective date will be eligible for records. Announcement of an additional species in the World Record Game Fishes book or in other IGFA publications will be considered proper notification...

All Tackle Category:

All-tackle world records are kept for the heaviest fish of a species caught by an angler in any line class up to 130 lb (60 kg). Fish caught on lines designed to test over the 130 lb (60 kg) class are not considered. All-tackle record claims are considered for all species of fish caught according to IGFA angling rules.

Applications for species not currently included in the IGFA line class and tippet class listings must meet the following criteria:

1.   The fish must represent a valid species with a recognized scientific name.
2.   The fish must be a species commonly fished for with rod and reel in the general area where the catch is made.
3.   The fish must be identifiable based on photos and other supporting data presented with the application.
4.   The fish must be considered \93trophy-sized.\94 A rule of thumb is that the weight must lie in the top half of the estimated max. weight of the species.

Line Class & Fly Rod Categories:

Line class records are kept according to the strength of the line. Fly rod world records are maintained according to tippet strength (tippet being what we call the fly line). Each species recognized for line class records is also recognized for tippet records.  Records are kept in the following line and tippet classes:

Line Classes Tippet Classes
Metric Imperial Metric Imperial
1 kg 2 lb 1 kg 2 lb
2 kg 4 lb 2 kg 4 lb
3 kg 6 lb  3 kg 6 lb 
4 kg 8 lb 4 kg 8 lb
6 kg 12 lb 6 kg 12 lb
8 kg 16 lb 8 kg 16 lb
10 kg 20 lb 10 kg 20 lb
15 kg 30 lb    
24 kg 50 lb    
37 kg 80 lb    
60 kg 130 lb    

The following are the maximum line classes acceptable for IGFA world record purposes - this listing refers only to fish usually caught in Irish waters: -

Saltwater Species


Species Scientific Name Max. Line Class

Bass, European Dicentrarchus labrax 15 kg (30 lb)
Bonito, Atlantic Sarda sarda   15 kg (30 lb)
Cod, Atlantic Gadus morhua  37 kg (80 lb)
Conger Conger conger  60 kg (130 lb)
Halibut, Atlantic Hippoglossus hippoglossus  60 kg (130 lb)
Pollack, European Pollachius pollachius  24 kg (50 lb)
Saithe (Coalfish) Pollachius virens  24 kg (50 lb)
Shark, blue Prionace glauca   60 kg (130 lb)
Shark, mako Isurus spp.  60 kg (130 lb)
Shark, porbeagle Lamna nasus  60 kg (130 lb)
Shark, thresher Alopias spp.  60 kg (130 lb)
Shark, tope Galeorhinus galeus  37 kg (80 lb)
Tuna, bluefin Thunnus thynnus   60 kg (130 lb)
Tuna, yellowfin Thunnus albacares  60 kg (130 lb)
Tunny, little Euthynnus alletteratus  15 kg (30 lb)

Line Testing for Record Purposes:

IGFA tests all line and tippet samples submitted with world record claims in accordance with the metric line class designations, which vary slightly from the standard U.S. customary (old imperial) designations. For example, the U.S. customary equivalent of 4 kilograms is 8.81 pounds. Thus, line designated by the manufacturer as 8 lb class line may test up to 8.81 pounds (4 kg) to qualify for an 8 lb line class record.  Metric to imperial weight conversion is as follows:


U.S. Customary / Imperial
Metric Equivalent
1 kg 2.20 lb
2 kg 4.40 lb
3 kg 6.61 lb
4 kg 8.81 lb
6 kg 13.22 lb
8 kg 17.63 lb
10 kg 22.04 lb
15 kg 33.06 lb
24 kg 52.91 lb
37 kg 81.57 lb
60 kg 132.27 lb

Line and tippet samples submitted with record claims are uniformly tested in accordance with US Government specifications, as modified and supplemented by IGFA. The IGFA offers a line and tippet testing service for members only.


Record Catch Regulations: General Information

1.   Protested applications or disputed existing records will be referred to the IGFA Executive Committee. Its decisions will be final. IGFA reserves the right to refuse to consider an application or grant a claim for a record or fishing contest application. All IGFA decisions will be based upon the intent of the regulations.

2.   When a substantial award is specifically offered for a world record catch in any line or tippet class, only a claim for an all-tackle record will be considered.

3.   In some cases, an IGFA officer or member of the International Committee or a deputy from a local IGFA member club may be asked to recheck information supplied on a claim. This kind of an action should not to be regarded as doubt of the formal affidavit, but rather as evidence of the extreme care with which IGFA investigates and maintains its records.


1.   Photographs must be submitted by which positive identification of the exact species can be made. Read the rules on photographs at the end of this section, and refer to the Species Identification section in the World Record Game Fishes book to determine which features must show to identify your fish. Applications without photographs will not be accepted.

2.   If there is the slightest doubt that the fish cannot be properly identified from the photographs and other data submitted, the fish should be examined by an ichthyologist or qualified fishery biologist before a record or contest application is submitted to IGFA. The scientist's signature and title (or qualifications) should appear on the IGFA application form or on a separate document confirming the identification of the species.

3.   If a scientist is not available, the fish should be retained in a preserved or frozen condition until a qualified authority can verify the species or until notified by IGFA that the fish need no longer be retained.

4.   If no decision can be made from the photographs and the angler can provide no further proof of the identification of the species, the record claim will not be considered.


On all record claims, witnesses to the catch are highly desirable if at all possible. Unwitnessed catches may be disallowed if questions arise regarding their authenticity. It is important that the witnesses can attest to the angler's compliance with the IGFA International Angling Rules & Equipment Regulations.


The minimum acceptance weight for a record catch claim is 1 pound (.453 kg).


1.   To replace a record for a fish weighing less than 25 pounds (11.33 kg), the replacement must weigh > 2 ounces (56.69 gm) more than the existing record.

2.   To replace a record fish weighing 25 pounds (11.33 kg) or more, the replacement must weigh at least 0.5% more than the existing record.  Ex: At 100 lbs (45.35 kg) the additional weight required is 8 ounces (226.7 gm); at 200 lbs (90.71 kg) the additional weight required is 1 lb (.453 kg).

3.   A catch which matches the weight of an existing record or exceeds the weight by less than the amount required to defeat the record will be considered a tie. In case of a tie claim involving more than two catches, weight must be compared with the original record (first fish to be caught). Nothing weighing less than the original record will be considered.

4.   Estimated weights will not be accepted. (See Weighing Requirements.) Fractions of ounces or their metric equivalents will not be considered.


With the exception of all-tackle records only, claims for record fish caught in U.S. continental waters must be received by IGFA within 60 days of the date of catch.  Claims for record fish caught in other waters (e.g. in Irish waters) must be received by IGFA within three months of the date of catch.

Claims for all-tackle records only are considered for catches made in past years if (1) acceptable photographs are submitted, (2) the weight of the fish can be positively verified, and (3) the method of catch can be substantiated. For catches made in the past, as much data as possible must be submitted on an IGFA world record application form with any additional substantiating data.

If an incomplete record claim is submitted, it must be accompanied by an explanation of why certain portions are incomplete. An incomplete claim will be considered for a record if the following conditions are met:

1.   The incomplete claim with explanations of why portions are incomplete must be received by IGFA within the time limits specified above.

2.   Missing data must be due to circumstances beyond the control of the angler making the record claim.

3.   All missing data must be supplied within a period of time considered to be reasonable in view of the particular circumstances.

IGFA\92s Executive Committee will make final decisions on incomplete claims.


1.   The fish must be weighed by an official weighmaster (if one is available) or by an IGFA official or by a recognized local person familiar with the scale.  Disinterested witnesses to the weight should be used whenever possible.

2.   The weight of the sling, platform, or rope (if one is used to secure the fish on the scales) must be determined and deducted from the total weight.

3.   At the time of weighing, the actual tackle used by the angler to catch the fish must be exhibited to the weighmaster and weight witness.

4.   No estimated weights will be accepted. Fish weighed only at sea or on other bodies of water will not be accepted.

5.   Only weights indicated by the graduations on the scale will be accepted. Visual fractionalizing of these graduations is not allowed. Any weights that fall between two graduations on the scale must be rounded to the lower of the two.

6.   All record fish should be weighed on scales that have been checked and certified for accuracy by government agencies or other qualified and accredited organizations. All scales must be regularly checked for accuracy and certified in accordance with applicable government regulations at least once every twelve months. If at the time of weighing the fish, the scale has not been properly certified within twelve months, it should be checked and certified for accuracy as quickly as possible, and an official report stating the findings of the inspection prior to any adjustment of the scale must be included with the record application.


1.   If there is no official government inspector or accredited commercial scales representative available in the area where the fish is weighed, the scales must be checked by weighing objects of recognized and proven weight. Objects weighed must be at least equal to the weight of the fish. Substantiation of the correct weight of these objects must be submitted to IGFA along with the names and complete addresses of accredited witnesses to the entire procedure.

2.   In extremely remote areas where no weighing scales are available, it will be permissible for the angler to use his own scales providing that they are of a quality type and have been properly certified both before and after returning from the fishing trip.

3.   IGFA reserves the right to require any scale to be re-certified for accuracy if there are any indications that the scale might not have weighed correctly.

Note: IGFA now offers a scale testing service for members only.

Preparation of Claims:

To apply for a world record, the angler must submit a completed IGFA form, the mandatory length of line and terminal tackle (described below) used to catch the fish, and acceptable photographs of the fish, the tackle used to catch the fish, the scale used to weigh the fish, and the angler with the fish.


The official IGFA world record application form or a reproduction must be used for claims. This form may be reproduced as long as all items are included.

The angler must fill in the application. IGFA recommends that the angler personally mail the application, line sample or fly leader and photographs.

When making any record claim, the angler must indicate the specified strength of the line or tippet used to catch the fish. In the cases of line class and tippet class records, this will place the claim in an IGFA line or tippet class category (see World Record Categories). All lines will be examined by IGFA to verify the specified strength of the line. If the line or tippet over tests its particular category, the application will be considered in the next highest category; if it under tests into a lower line or tippet class category, the application will not be considered for the lower line class. The heaviest line class permitted for both freshwater and saltwater records is 60 kg (130 lb) class. The heaviest tippet class permitted for fly fishing records is 10 kg (20 lb). If the line or tippet over tests these maximum strengths, the claim will be disallowed.

Extreme care should be exercised in measuring the fish as the measurements are vital to weight verification and scientific studies. See the measurement diagram on the record application to be sure you have measured correctly.

The angler is responsible for seeing that the signatures and correct addresses of the boat captain, weighmaster and witnesses are on the application. If an IGFA officer or representative, or an officer or member of an IGFA club is available, he or she should be asked to witness the claim. The name of a boatman, guide, or weighmaster repeated as witness is not acceptable.

The angler must appear in person to have his application notarized. Where US notarization is not possible or customary, e.g. Ireland the signature of a government commissioner or resident, a member of an embassy, consular staff or an IGFA officer or International Committee member may replace notarization.

Any deliberate falsification of an application will disqualify the applicant for any future IGFA world record, and any existing records will be nullified.


All applications for fly fishing records must be accompanied by the lure, the entire tippet, and the entire leader along with one inch of the fly line beyond the attachment to the leader. These components must be intact and connected.

All applications for saltwater line class records must be accompanied by the entire leader, the double line, and at least 50 feet (15.24 meters) of the single line closest to the double line, leader or hook. All line samples and the leader (if one is used) must be submitted in one piece. If a lure is used with the leader, the leader should be cut at the eye attachment to the lure.

Each line sample must be in one piece. It must be submitted in a manner that it can be easily unwound without damage to the line. A recommended method is to take a rectangular piece of stiff cardboard and cut notches in two opposite ends. Secure one end of the line to the cardboard and wind the line around the cardboard through the notched areas. Secure the other end, and write your name and the specified strength of the line on the cardboard. Any line sample submitted that is tangled or cannot be easily unwound will not be accepted.


Photographs showing the full length of the fish, the rod and reel used to make the catch, and the scale used to weigh the fish must accompany each record application. A photograph of the angler with the fish is also required.

For species identification, the clearest possible photos should be submitted. This is especially important in the cases of hybrids and fishes that may be confused with similar species. Shark applications should include a photograph of the shark's teeth, and of the head and back taken from above in addition to the photographs taken from the side.  Whether the shark has or does not have a ridge between the dorsal fins should be clearly evident in this photograph.

In all cases, photographs should be taken of the fish in a hanging position and also lying on a flat surface on its side. The fish should be broadside to the camera and no part of the fish should be obscured. The fins must be fully extended and not obscured with the hands, and the jaw or bill clearly shown. Avoid obscuring the keels of sharks and tunas with a tail rope.

When photographing a fish lying on its side, the surface beneath the fish should be smooth and a ruler or marked tape place beside the fish if possible.  Photographs from various angles are most helpful.

An additional photograph of the fish on the scale with actual weight visible helps to expedite the application.

Photos taken by daylight with a reproducible-type negative film are highly recommended if at all possible.

Note: IGFA's bimonthly newsletter International Angler keeps anglers up to date on world record catches. It is important that we have clear, publishable photographs of the fish and the angler. If you have action shots of the catch, we would like to see them also.

Conversion Formulas for Weights & Measures

Persons submitting world record and contest claims are required to provide the weights and measurements of the fish in the units in which they were taken. The following formulas are provided for your information.



Ounces x 28.349 = Grams
Ounces x 0.02835 = Kilograms
Pounds  x 453.59 = Grams 
Pounds x 0.45359 = Kilograms
Grams x 0.0353 = Ounzes
Grams x 0.002 = Pounds
Kilograms x 2.2046 = Pounds
Kilograms x 35.2736 = Ounzes



Inches x 25.4 = Millimetres
Inches x 2.54 = Centimetres
Feet x 30.48 = Centimetres
Feet x 0.3048 = Metres
Millimetres x 0.03979 = Inches
Centimetres x 0.3937 = Inches
Centimetres x 0.0328 = Feet
Metres x 39.37 = Inches



1 Pound Force x 4.448 = Newtons
1 Kilogram Force x 9.806 = Newtons
1 Fathom x 6 = Feet

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