World Record Striped Bass Caught In Alabama
Once certified, a 70-lb. striper caught in the Black Warrior River would top the current world record by 2 1/2 pounds.
by Mike Bolton, courtesy Georgia Outdoor News

James R. Bramlett, of Dora, has apparently shattered a long-standing Alabama state record and potentially set a new world record after landing a 70-lb. striped bass while fishing on the Black Warrior River.

ALABAMA, March 2, 2013 - A potential world-record fish caught from Alabama waters is no fish story.

Retired Alabama ironworker James R. Bramlett of Dora, has apparently shattered a long-standing Alabama state record and potential set a new world record after landing a 70-lb. striped bass while fishing on the Black Warrior River.

The monstrous fish not only surpasses the 54-year-old Alabama state record by a whopping 15 pounds, it is also 2 1/2 pounds larger than the current International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world record for land-locked striped bass.

State and world records do not become official until certified by the state agency and the IGFA. The angler has submitted paperwork that includes photos and several forms of documentation to Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries for state record certification and to the IGFA for world-record certification.

The decision on a state-record certification could take only a few weeks, but world-record certification could take six months or more.

Bramlett was fishing near the Gorgas Steam Plant on the Black Warrior River on Feb. 28 when the big fish inhaled the 10-inch gizzard shad he was using for bait. The 65-year-old said he was tied up to the bank and saw the big stripe chasing shad on the surface less than 50 feet away. He said he quickly grabbed a larger fishing rod and a live shad from his bait tank and cast near where he saw the fish.

Bramlett was fishing alone, but after a 20- to 25-minute battle was able to land the fish.

Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries recognizes 40 freshwater records in the state, and the striped bass record that Bramlett is challenging is one of the oldest. The current Alabama state record striped bass is the 55-lb. fish caught by Charles Totty on the Tallapoosa River 54 years ago in 1959. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries did not stock striped bass into Alabama waterways in those days, and the fish was an ocean-going striped bass that had migrated more than 200 miles inland before dams were in place, state biologists believe.

The closest any angler has ever come to that record was a 52-lb. striped bass caught more than 20 years ago.

Only the state records for smallmouth bass (1950), drum (1949) and bluegill (1950) have survived longer than Totty’s record.

The current IGFA world record landlocked striped bass is the 67-pound, 8-ounce fish caught on May 7, 1992 by Hank Ferguson. That fish was caught on the O'Neill Forebay in Los Banos, Calif.

Heath Haley, a fisheries biologist from the Northport office of Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, said Bramlett brought the fish to his office for certification on the day of the catch. He said he was shocked to see a striped bass of that size.

“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,” Haley said. “Mr. Bramlett is a humble man. He’s the kind of person you love to see do something like this.”

The fish was weighed on certified scales and weighed exactly 70.00 pounds, Haley said. He said Bramlett should have no problem having the fish approved as a state record, as he has everything properly documented including witnesses to the catch and the weighing of the fish.

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