Alvin Wimbrough had caught a huge striped bass Friday just south of Sandbridge. The fish was weighed at Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle and tipped the scales at 66 pounds, 8 ounces. That easily tops the current state record of 63-8, caught in January by Paul Kleckner of Greenbackville, Va.
But Wimbroughs fish has been disqualified as a pending state record. Wimbrough, of Virginia Beach, holds a state hook-and-line commercial fishing license. Rules for the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, which oversees state records and presents awards for significant catches, prohibit commercial hook-and-line fishermen from participating in the program.
But Wimbrough said he has a tournament release citation hanging on his wall.
It could be that he does,said Claude Bain, director of the awards program. Some of these things slip through the cracks. But a state record is not going to slip through any crack.
Bain said the tournament committee has been adamant about the rule.
We cant get into the mind of a commercial fisherman when they go out on a trip,Bain said. The rule was designed to prevent one from going out, catching a big fish and then saying that they werent commercial fishing. More often than not, the trip started as a commercial trip.
Bain does not dispute the intent of Wimbroughs outing Friday but said rules are rules.
Wimbrough, 41, was fishing with a group of friends on the charter boat Fishing Fever with Capt. Paul Ewing. Wimbrough has chartered Ewings services in the past.
This was a charter trip, Wimbrough said. Since I got my citation from last year, I never thought it would be a problem.
Ewing and Wimbrough said they plan to fight the ruling.
Im a charter captain and this was a charter trip,Ewing said. We fish hard like every other recreational charter. His commercial status has nothing to do with this trip or this boat.
Well fight this for as long as the day is long.
Lee Tolliver Virginia Pilot
When is a a record not a record?