For months, Rodney Ply sat anxiously awaiting a life-changing decision from the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) that could make the Arkansas angler $1 million richer.
On August 2, the IGFA finally revealed their ruling. To Ply’s utter dismay, it said a 68-pound striped bass he caught would not be certified as a record because of the lure he used to catch the fish. Ply has been waiting for a decision since February 18 when he caught the fish.
“Oh I tell you what…it’s sickening, it is,” Ply told KATV reporter Jason Pederson. “I don’t know…it’s just really sickening Jason. It is. I just…I can’t get over it really.”
The lure Ply used was his own design. He constructed a patent-pending multiple hook rig. The IGFA said it was too similar to an umbrella, or Alabama rig. IGFA World Records Coordinator Jack Vitek wrote an email to Ply describing their decision. The following is an excerpt.
"After significant review by our Rules Committee, we consider your lure to be a spreader bar arrangement. IGFA Equipment Regulations state: ‘spreader bars are permitted to be used provided that the actual fishing line is attached to the snap or other release device, either directly or with some other material.’ Since the angler’s line is not attached to a release device so that the hook could be disengaged from the lure arrangement, this lure violated IGFA equipment rules for spreader bars."
Ply had entered Mustad Hook’s “Hook-a-Million” contest where any fish caught this year that met licensing and catching regulations qualified for $10,000 prize if it beat the state record, and $1,000,000 if it beat a world record.
Thing is, Ply didn’t receive the $10,000 cash prize for beating a state record either, which he beat by four pounds. The reason for that rejection was that his fish was weighed on a scale that was not certified until after his fish was weighed and that a wildlife official must be present at weigh-in. Ply called to arrange for an official to see the fish who told him to meet at a grocery store. Both people arrived to find that the store’s scale was too small to weigh the giant fish.
Ply’s last hope remains in appealing the decision by the IGFA, which he said he plans on doing.
For now, the world landlocked striped bass record stands at 67 pounds 8 ounces. It was caught by Hank Ferguson at O’Neill Forebay in California on May 7, 1992.