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Helpful tips toward authenticating an angler's big catch

No one ever begins a day of fishing expecting to set a world fly-fishing record. But if you do think your big one can become THE big one, then there are a few simple steps you must take to ensure that your record fish can be certified by the International Game Fish Association.

The IGFA, which is the official keeper of the world's freshwater and saltwater angling records, has some basic requests and requirements of anglers submitting their catches for line-class records.

Catch the fish alone.

Anyone applying for a record must swear that they alone fought and caught the fish. Others can net or gaff it, but there is no handing the rod to other anglers during the fight.

Photos.

Every record submission must contain at least one clear photo of the fish's side.

Fly and leaders.

The fly should be left attached to the leader, and the entire leader should be kept (cut within — inch from the fly line). The IGFA tests the leader before determining for which category the fish qualifies.

Wrap the fly line around cardboard before shipping it in with your application.

Certified weight.

Get the weight on an IGFA-certified scale (ask around where you catch your fish to find one), and get the name and address of the person doing the weighing, just in case verification is needed.

Witnesses.

If you have witnesses, get their names, addresses and telephone numbers.

Know your tackle.

The IGFA wants to know what kind of rod and reel you used, as well as the manufacturer of your leader.

Pay the piper.

IGFA members pay &

36;10 to get their application processed. Non-members pay &

36;35.

Learn more.

To learn more about the rules and to get an on-line version of the official application, visit the IGFA's Web site at or telephone 1-954-927-2628.

'Mark Freeman