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Mechanicsville man hooks state mark with 68-1 striper
By LEE TOLLIVER, The Virginian-Pilot
? March 5, 2006
Last updated: 1:30 AM

VIRGINIA BEACH - It has become an annual event.

Once again, an angler has broken the state record for striped bass.

Clay Armstrong of Mechanicsville caught a 68-pound, 1-ounce rockfish while fishing in the Atlantic Ocean off Virginia Beach on Saturday. The 33-year-old road construction worker broke the mark of 63-8 established by Paul Kleckner in February 2005 off Wachapreague.

Catching such a fish in March is somewhat unusual. But large striped bass have remained in the area off Virginia Beach and upper North Carolina a little later this year because of warmer-than-average waters and plentiful bait.

Armstrong, who keeps his boat, "Fin Addict," docked at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, was fishing about 14 miles south of Rudee Inlet. He was trolling umbrella rigs that featured chartreuse paddle-tail baits.

Armstrong knew that the fish was big. He's no stranger to big stripers.

"We had a 62-15 on my boat last year, so I had a pretty good idea this was a big fish by the way it was pulling," Armstrong said. "We've had a 53-pounder, a 50-pounder and lots in the 30-pound range."

Most of those fish were caught by friends on Armstrong's boat. Armstrong said his largest rockfish to date weighed 38 pounds.

"This is exciting," Armstrong said. "There was a lot of yelling and screaming on the boat and when we got this thing on the scales. I'd imagine they could hear us all the way back at the docks when this fish hit the deck."

In previous years, Armstrong's catch would not have made the record books. Armstrong holds a commercial rod-and-reel fishing license. In the past, holders of such licenses were not eligible for awards from the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament . But the rule was changed late last year to allow commercial fishermen to compete.

Reach Lee Tolliver at 757-222-5844 or [email protected]
 

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Commercial fisherman are now eligible? I don't know if I agree with that. I mean who's to say it was caught on a hook and line and not a net? I know there was a big stink about it last year when the standing record was beat a couple weeks later only to find out it wasn't a valid record because the guy held a commercial fishing license. I don't recall ever reading that they made that change though... guess we'll have to see.
 

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wow that is SOME bassy!!
 
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