Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Virginia Produces World Record Snakehead

Tankersley’s 19-pound 5-ounce catch, which was certified as the world record by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) in October, remained under the radar.

“I fish for snakeheads a lot, mainly throwing topwater plugs from my kayak,” Tankersley told Bay Bulletin’s Wild Chesapeake. “I knew it was a really big fish, and after I weighed it on the bathroom scale, I was pretty sure it was a world record.” Tankersley needed only four minutes to subdue the beast after it crushed an imitation frog he cast into the lily pads that adorn Potomac Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River near Fredericksburg.
That is a big snakehead!
The next day, his catch was confirmed by a Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologist, who also helped Tankersley with the IGFA paperwork. Virginia does not recognize this non-native, invasive species for state record consideration, but the agency biologists will confirm the species when asked.

IGFA’s certification process is extensive and time-consuming in order to assure authenticity,  which explains why it took six months for Tankersley to learn that he broke the previous 17 pound, 12 ounce record set by Luis Aragon while fishing in Quantico Creek, Virginia. Previously, another Virginian, Caleb Newton, held the IGFA world-record with a 17-pound, 6-ounce snakehead caught in 2013 on Aquia Creek, also a tributary of the Potomac.

Unlike Virginia, Maryland chooses to recognize state-record snakehead catches and allows them to be caught and registered by any legal method including bow and arrow. The current Maryland record holder is Andy Fox, who used an arrow to skewer a 19.90-pound snakehead in May 2018. IGFA keeps world records for seven varieties of snakehead but does not recognize fishing with bow and arrow in any record consideration for any species.
I really need to check out the local swamp to see if Snakeheads  have made it in yet.

Wombat-socho has a double stuffed Rule 5 Sunday: Morena Baccarin.


  1. it is illegal to release any caught snakehead....but they are great eating, right up there with walleye.
    one way to limit their spread, i think, would be to hold tournaments with prize $$$ for biggest, most, and most pounds. bet that would thin the numbers in any body of water quickly

  2. In Maryland, at least, it is not illegal to release a snakehead back into the waters you caught it in. However, it is illegal to keep them alive after catching them to take home, to prevent them from being spread to new waters.

    There are snakehead tournaments in both MD and VA, but the real control has been market hunting, mostly by bow and arrow and mostly at night. I've always said, if you wanted to eliminate them, put a commercial season on them, with strict size and gear regulations, and watch the watermen break all the rules in an effort to get the last one.