Hudson’s hot day: two state records

By Steve
Piatt
Editor

Albany – May 9 was a good day to be fishing on the Hudson
River.

That’s when a pair of state record fish were caught – a
55-pound, 6-ounce striped bass boated on a stretch of the big river
in Ulster County and a 9-pound, 4-ounce American shad caught
upstream in Albany County.

DEC last month certified both catches following official
weigh-ins.

It was Ian Kiraly, a 21-year-old Cornell University student from
Franklin (Delaware County) who boated the record striper, which was
nearly twice as big as he’s ever encountered. He was trolling a
stick bait and fishing with his father, Andrew, and family friend
Paul Pierson when the big fish hit.

The record shad was caught by Robert Kubica of Pittsfield,
Mass., an avid shad angler who visits the Hudson regularly.
Kubica’s fish – which he took right to DEC headquarters in Albany –
and 28 inches in length and was caught on a shad dart.

‘I actually saw that fish when he (Kubica) brought it into our
offices,’ DEC Director of Fish, Wildlife & Marine Resources
Gerald Barnhart said. ‘It was a beautiful fish.’

DEC Fisheries Bureau Chief Doug Stang said Kubica ‘is an avid
shad angler who makes the trip over here from Massachusetts pretty
regularly. He knows what he’s doing. A lot of guys don’t really
think about a 9-pound fish in terms of a state record. Seven- and
8-pound shad are fairly common. But this was a big one.’

American shad make their way up the Hudson and Delaware rivers
to their spawning grounds each spring, and the runs attract scores
of anglers. Kubica’s fish topped the previous record, an 8-pound,
14-ounce fish caught by Andrew Sheffer in a Columbia County stretch
of the Hudson back in 1989.

Kubica was fishing the Green Island area of the Hudson, Stang
said.

Stripers, too, migrate up the Hudson all the way to the dam in
Troy, N.Y. Big fish are caught every year, but none bigger than
Kiraly’s, which broke the 2003 record of 55 pounds even set by Dan
Mangold. Ironically, that fish was also caught on May 9, as was the
previous record before Mangold’s catch, a 55-pound, 6-ounce fish
caught by James Van Dyke in 2000. Both of those fish fell to
herring baits.

The saltwater record is a 1981 catch by Bob Rochetta in the
Atlantic Ocean that weighed in at 76 pounds.

‘It was actually a fairly slow day of fishing,’ said Kiraly, an
avid striped angler who was also impressed with Kubica’s record
shad, since he pursues those fish as well. ‘We picked up a few
fish, but nothing real big – about 15 pounds.’

The trio was fishing in the Kingston area, trolling stick baits
when the big fish hit.

‘I knew it was a decent fish; I’ve caught them up to 28 pounds,’
Kiraly recalled. ‘They all take off a lot of line when you hook
them, but then I couldn’t move this one. I would gain some line and
then lose just as much. He actually charged the boat a couple
times, and that’s what I think kept the fish from spooling me.’

Fishing from a 16-foot Lund and using 25-pound test line, it
took about 45 minutes to get the huge female striper to the
boat.

‘We just all kind of stood there and stared when the fish’s head
and body came out of the murky water to the surface,’ Kiraly said.
‘They usually thrash pretty good; I don’t know if we could have
landed it if it did that. But it was pretty much dead. We actually
thought about releasing it – we usually release the big females
–┬ábut there’s no way we could have revived this fish.’

Surprisingly, the battle attracted virtually no attention.

‘There really wasn’t anyone else around,’ Kiraly said. ‘Usually
when you hook into a fish a boat or two will move right in on
you.’

The trio almost immediately took the fish to Certified Marine on
Rondout Creek for weighing on the shop’s certified scale. The
striper was 493/8 inches long and had a 32-inch girth.

Kiraly has since sent the fish to Borrows Taxidermy near
Delhi.

DEC’s Angler Achievement Awards Program recognizes exceptional
catches in several categories: Catch & Release, Annual Award,
and State Record. Anglers who enter freshwater fish meeting
specific qualifying criteria will receive official recognition of
their catch commemorating their achievement with a Certificate of
Achievement, a plaque and/or a lapel pin.

For additional details on the Angler Achievement Awards Program,
including a downloadable entry form, visit DEC’s Web site at
www.dec.ny.gov and go to the link for Fishing under the Outdoors
Recreation section in the left-hand column.

Additional information on the program can also be obtained by
calling (518) 402-8891 or sending an e-mail directly to DEC’s
Bureau of Fisheries at fwfish@gw.dec.state.ny.us
.

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