A 73-pound striped bass caught off the Virginia coast this week has the Internet fishing forums and angling blogs buzzing.


Fred Barnes, 63, a Chesapeake, Va. telephone contractor, shattered the state’s rockfish record and came within five pounds of breaking the world record for the species.

The pending state record measured 52 inches in length and had a girth of 31 inches.

Barnes was fishing Wednesday with Capt. Pat Foster aboard the Country Girl out of the Virginia Beach Fishing Center.

The Virginian-Pilot reports today that the huge striper hit a red and white Stretch 30 trolling lure. The fish was fought for about 10 minutes on a Penn 30 level-wind reel spooled with 50-pound test line.

Barnes’ behemoth is one of only a few rod-and-reel stripers topping 70 pounds. The current International Game Fish Association all-tackle world record–a 78-8 striper–was caught in 1982 by Albert McReynolds off a beach in New Jersey. The standing Virginia striper record is a 68-pound, 1-ounce fish caught in 2006.

A dedicated striper angler, Barnes landed a 58-pound, 13-ounce rockfish in 2005.

Does the fortunate fisherman plan to take his catch to a taxidermist?

Nothing doing, he told the Hampton Roads Daily Press. It’s filets all the way.

And if you’ve ever eaten fresh, cold-water East-coast striper, we bet you’ll find it hard to fault his decision.