Every angler dreams of putting their name in the record books with the catch of a lifetime, but catching a world record fish will remain a dream for most anglers because it is such a rare occurrence. But there are easier ways to catch a world record fish.

Beyond the all-tackle world record category, there are other categories of world record fish, such as line-class world record, fly rod world record and catch-and-release world record, which open the door to many possibilities for those seeking a place in the record books.

Line-Class Records

The International Game Fish Association maintains world record catches for all-tackle and line-class world records for nearly every species of fish. The all-tackle record is the largest fish caught with any rod or reel. A line-class world record is the largest fish caught on a specific size of line. So there is a record for the largest northern pike caught on 2-pound test line, 4-pound test line and so on.

Some of the line-class records are as difficult to break as the all-tackle records, but there are plenty that could be broken, relatively easily, with a little effort.

One the best ways to catch a line-class world record is to focus on species that are less popular, so there are fewer people trying to break the record.  Good examples are bullheads, redhorse, drum, or an American eel. 

One of the important elements of catching a line-class world record is making sure your line breaks at the correct weight.  For example, if you are trying for a 2-pound test line record, but your line breaks at 6 pounds, it will be classified as 6-pound test line.  Catching a line-class record requires you to test a variety of lines to find one that breaks at the weight at which it is advertised to break.

In IGFA provides all the rules for submitting a line-class world record on its website.

Catch and Release

The Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame keeps records on big fish that are caught and released. Again, this opens the opportunity to an easier way to enter the record books, because most people who land a record fish are likely to keep their fish.

Just as with line-class world records, your best odds of catching a catch-and-release world record is to focus on lesser-known species, such as a quillback or burbot. You could also try a catch-and-release record for one of the many sunfish species.

In order to qualify a catch-and-release record, you must provide photos, measurements and other proof, which are listed at the FFHF website.

Other records

In addition to catch-and-release records, the FFHF keeps records on big fish caught with a fly rod or by ice fishing, or by cane pole with no reel.

These records open up many possibilities for anglers looking for a place in the record books.

The key to landing a record fish in any of these categories is to thoroughly understand the rules before you go out in search of a record. Following the rules and doing everything precisely will greatly improve your odds of earning am elite place among the other world record holders.