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What’s the biggest fish ever caught with a rod and reel?


Rod and Reel Fishing: A Brief History

People have been catching and eating fish since the beginning of recorded history. As you probably guessed, the earliest anglers didn’t have graphite fishing rods with reels, they were using rods made of wood or bone.

The earliest known picture of a person “angling” for fish using a rod was found in Egypt and dates back to 2000 BC, and Chinese fishermen may have been using reels on their rods as early as the 4th Century AD.

ancient egyptian carving showing people fishing

Like the vast majority of people who fish, we don’t think anyone should ever kill a fish (or any other animal) just for fun. That’s why people who fish for sport usually take great pains to carefully release the fish they catch, and the meat from any fish they keep is used for food (or donated to food banks).

Catching a fish with a rod and reel provides the fisherman/woman with a powerful connection to their prey. It’s about as close as a person can get to “hand-to-hand combat” with a fish. Catching a fish that only weighs a couple of pounds with a rod and reel isn’t that tough. However, landing a huge fresh or saltwater fish can take hours and it’s a battle that will test you physically and mentally. Sometimes, the fish wins that battle, and sometimes you do.

Whether you’re a fisherman or not, have you ever wondered what the world record is for the biggest fish ever caught with a rod and reel? Let’s find out!

The Biggest Fish Ever Caught With a Rod and Reel

The record goes to the legendary Captain Frank Mundus, who was the inspiration for Captain Quint in the famous movie Jaws.

In August 1986 Mundus and Donnie Braddick brought in the largest fish EVER caught by rod and reel. Using 150 pound test line, the pair reeled in a 3,427 pound Great White Shark!

There’s still some controversy about their catch, since Mundus initially hooked the shark but let his friend Braddick fight it in and the shark may have been feeding on a dead whale, both of which technically violate the IGFA’s record rules.

Either way, this is one beast of a fish for anyone to bring in using only a rod and reel (the photo below shows a life-sized replica of their record-breaking catch):

giant shark hanging up by it's tail

The second biggest fish ever caught on a rod and reel

Before Mundus & Braddick’s huge Great White catch, the previous record for the biggest fish ever caught on a rod and reel happened on April 21, 1959.

That’s when Alfred Dean caught a 2,664-pound great white shark off the coast of south Australia. Amazingly, it only took Dean 50 minutes to reel in this monster. Oh, AND he was only using 130-pound test line!

This wasn’t Dean’s first rodeo either. He also caught great whites sharks weighing 2,333 and 2,536 pounds. That’s a lot of shark steak.

great white shark hanging up by its tail

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Happy fishing!

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