Last January, an angler that caught what could have been the largest fly-caught blacktip shark ever caught, but he released the fish because he didn’t want to risk killing it to see his name in the record books.
A report from Southern Fried Science says Michael Roth, an attorney from Scranton, Pennsylvania was fishing for sharks around the Turks and Caicos Islands when he saw a big blacktip shark swim past. Roth cast an orange-colored streamer in its path and the fight was on.
Roth estimated the blacktip weighed 120 pounds–more than enough to beat the current fly fishing world record of 77 pounds. However, since International Game Fish Association (IGFA) rules require fish be weighed on a certified scale, a task that would have likely killed the shark, Roth chose to instead take a photograph and release it.
“While I would love to be a world record holder, the thought of killing this beautiful animal was completely abhorrent to me,” Roth said. “I felt so fortunate to have hooked and landed this spectacular fish. Killing it was always out of the question. Releasing this fish, and for me all fish, to keep the species healthy is a top priority for me. I always encourage all anglers to catch and release.”