Giant Fluke caught by Monica Oswald set world record
26] Bradley Beach, N.J, US--Monica Oswald from Neptune City, N.J.,
caught a 24.3 pounds, 38.25 inches, world record Fluke.
reportedly caught the 38-inch fluke in 50 feet of water using a
Spro bucktail with a stinger hook tipped with squid. She told she
thought she was hooked on the bottom until her line started to move.
"I was really shocked," she said Sunday en route to
another shift at Riverview Medical Center, Red Bank, where she has
worked since 1990. "You never know what you're reeling up."
Monica Oswald of Neptune with the 24.3-pound fluke on the scale
Scott Christensen weighed the fish at Scott's
Bait and Tackle in Bradley Beach. He knew immediately this was
a fluke for the ages.
"When Monica walked into the shop," Christensen
recalled, "that fish was nearly sticking out both ends of her cooler."
Christensen put the huge flatfish on the scale and turned to the
lucky angler: "Looks like you have the world record here!" he announced.
In a telephone interview from the shop,
Oswald, a nurse at Riverview Hospital in Red Bank, N.J., told she
caught the huge flattie in 60 feet of water. The doormat swallowed
a Glo-colored, 4-ounce Spro bucktail tipped with squid and a stinger
hook. An Abu Garcia 7000 reel, 5 1/2-foot Lamiglas boat rod, and
65-pound test Power Pro line rounded out her gear.
When she first hooked the fluke, which measured 38 inches
long, she said, it didn't move. So, thinking the jig was caught
in the rocks, she backed up her boat to try to free it. No luck.
She started reeling some more, and then felt it start to move.
"Little by little I was making my way," she said, but
whatever was on the other end of the line was not coming to the
surface quickly. In fact, she said, she got the fish up toward the
surface, but it dove away.
"I knew it wasn't a striper or a bluefish," she said,
"they go ZING and they're gone. I thought maybe it was a cow-nosed
ray," which Oswald said she has caught before.
Finally, after about 20 minutes or so — "you don't
look at your watch when you're fighting a fish," she said — she
got the fish back up to the surface and with the assistance of her
friend, Eric Neuier of Ocean Township, got it in the boat. "I thought,
"Oh my God,' " she said.
fluke asily beat the current world record -- a 22-pound, 7-ouncer
caught off Montauk, N.Y. in 1975.
Oswald also holds the IGFA all-tackle world record
for weakfish, thanks to an 18-pound, 1-ounce fish she caught last
August. As you would imagine, Oswald's latest stroke of good luck
has fostered all sorts of rumors about the validity of her catch,
and the online fishing forums are buzzing about it.
New York Newsday reported earlier this week that Oswald
stopped granting interviews about her catch on Sunday and that the
potential record fluke was possibly ravaged by animals after Oswald
left it in a cooler outside her home.
Her tremendous success has raised a few eyebrows,
however, and concerns about this catch surfaced quickly as they
often do when fishing records change hands. Photos of the fish show
the gills clearly detached from the body. Oswald claims the separation
occurred accidentally as she retrieved her bucktail by sliding her
hand under the gill flap from the outside. Christensen added that
the flesh appeared ripped, not sliced.
Also begging examination was significant scale loss
above the tail. Handling of the fish caused this, Christensen said,
and it's possible scales were lost as Oswald stood on the fish to
calm it down.
Roy Christensen, who owns Scott's
Bait & Tackle, said in his 63 years of living in Bradley Beach
he had never witnessed anything like it. "I've never, ever seen
a fluke that big," Christensen said. "They have been saying that
this is the year that the fluke record could be broken, but whoever
thought that the fish would be weighed in here at our shop.
"It really is unbelievable, especially with it
being our 10-year anniversary here at the shop and all." "Like anybody
else, it's being at the right place at the right time," Oswald said.