Traveling angler James Schmid caught and released a huge chinook salmon while fishing the Caterina River in Argentina on March 3. The fish is now a pending world record, according to the International Game Fish Association, which is currently reviewing the catch.
If accepted by the IGFA, Schmid’s 44 1/2-inch king salmon would become the new world-record chinook in the “All-Tackle Length” category. A relatively new class of record fish, the category was established by the organization in 2011 to incentivize catch and release.
In other words, Schmid’s chinook is not even close to the heaviest king salmon ever caught—something that many social media users have already pointed out. It likely weighed less than half as much as the true All-Tackle world-record chinook, which was just over 97 pounds. Angler Les Anderson caught that fish from Alaska’s Kenai River in 1985.
Schmid already holds the current All-Tackle Length world record for chinook salmon. He caught that 41-plus-inch fish from the same river in Argentina on Jan. 21. And looking at the IGFA record book, the angler has been on a record-setting mission over the past 12 years. Between November 2011 and today, Schmid has logged a total of 25 IGFA records. Those record fish have come from Texas, Wisconsin, Nevada, Canada, Bolivia, Brazil, and Argentina. Each one is either a length record or a line-class record, but only 11 of Schmid’s records still stand today.
“James hooked this potential record salmon on a spoon and was able to the land the fish after a lengthy fight,” the IGFA explained in the social media post. Other details behind Schmid’s pending record catch are slim, but the IGFA specified that Schmid hooked the salmon on a Dixie Jet Spoon. He was using a spinning rod paired with a Shimano Stradic 5000 reel.
Chinook salmon are only native to the North Pacific. They were introduced to South America in the 1970s, and there is now a robust population of naturally reproducing wild salmon there. They can be caught in South American rivers from the end of December through mid-April, when they run upriver to spawn.