June 05 2005
Chattanooga Fireman Catches Probable World Record Fish
JJ Rorex is a Chattanooga fireman serving the city at Firehall #14 in St. Elmo. Given the slightest amount of opportunity, firemen are well-known for giving each other large doses of grief around the firehall.
But if the guys giving him grief are fishermen, they'll probably be jealous as well. Rorex may soon achieve something every angler dreams of. It appears at this point that Rorex will soon lay claim to the World Record Bighead Carp. We're not talking "line class" record -- we're talking bona fide WORLD RECORD!
Rorex's 90-pound catch smashed the existing Bighead Carp record (73 lbs.) taken from Reelfoot Lake. He caught it from the same water where well-known angler Benny Hull captured the World Record Drum -- the tailwaters of Nickajack Dam.
Rorex and fellow fireman Jim Manis were rockfishing below Nickajack, throwing big white bucktail jigs. Rorex said when
he hooked the fish, "it shot across the surface like a big rock(fish)." Rorex said the monster fish was well on the way to spooling his brand new casting reel.
The battle went on for a fierce 75 minutes. Rorex said when the fish finally rolled up next to the boat, they had no idea what it was. "We just kind of put the dip net over it's head, but it would only go in as far as the dorsal fin. The two of us just finally managed to grab each end and roll it over into the boat."
Bighead Carp are an exotic species. Biologists actually wish they weren't here. They are thought to have been brought to the country by fish farmers. And then, of course, they escaped into public waters and continue to spread. They are rarely captured by anglers because, like spoonbill catfish, they feed only on microscopic plankton. But sooner or later they are likely to cross paths with a fish hook.
Rorex says he's been having a second battle, trying to catch up with a TWRA fisheries biologist who will officially confirm the species. He's already done the certified scales scene, with witnesses. So once a biologist certifies the species, it's just a matter of paperwork before J.J. Rorex appears in the record books.