Greg Myerson said Tuesday he's sorry to take the world-record striped bass record from Atlantic City, but he is happy to have it in Westbrook, Conn.
Myerson caught an 81.88-pound striped bass last Thursday in the Long Island Sound that beats the existing record of 78 pounds, 8 ounces set by former Atlantic City resident Albert McReynolds on Sept. 21, 1982.
McReynolds, who caught his bass while fishing from an Atlantic City jetty, gave Myerson his congratulations, and some advice.
"I talked to him about five times," Myerson said. "He's been treating me with nothing but respect. He told me to lay low for a couple of days. Just enjoy it."
Myerson said McReynolds, who now lives in Naples, Fla., also advised him not to worry about what everybody says.
"He probably is the only person who knows what I was going through," Myerson said.
He said that he's been getting about a 100 calls a day "easy" about the fish. On Tuesday, he did an interview with The Fisherman magazine, which is putting his story on the front page. And he is setting up another interview for today with Coastal Angler magazine.
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He spent another part of Tuesday filling out all the paperwork to certify the fish and the world record with the International Game Fish Association.
However, the demands on his time have not cut into his fishing. But that's mainly because the weather in Connecticut has been "crummy," he said.
"Everyone has been pretty cool," Myerson said. "Nothing has changed. I'm just going to keep on fishing."
He was headed out Tuesday night.
McReynolds said Tuesday that he gave Myerson a couple of tips based on his experience in 1982. According to an article in The Press in 2008, McReynolds referred to his catch as the "night he caught the devil."
He caught the fish during a rain storm, battling 25-knot winds and crashing waves off the jetty. He spent years defending the catch from others who claimed it was caught by a net instead of a rod and reel. He said he even received hate mail.
Two days after Myerson's catch, McReynolds called The Press to say that he was considering legal action for fraud. But when reached on Tuesday, the 64-year-old said that Myerson deserves the honor of the new world record because Myerson is a real fisherman who earned it.
McReynolds said it is not about the money or honors, but about the joy of fishing. That was his biggest advice for Myerson - just do whatever makes him happy.
"Keep fishing, get out of the house, stay focused on fishing," McReynolds said Tuesday.
Myerson said he took the advice. The only problem was that when he went out to his world-record fishing spot on the eastern end of Long Island, "It was like a parking lot ... I didn't go near my spot."
Myerson is a 43-year-old union electrician who lives in North Branford, Conn. He fishes just about every night he can.
He has a spot he likes with big underwater rocks. He says fishing is best there near slack tide at high water at night or evening, and the moon has got to be high in the sky. He says it's always like that when he catches the big ones.
The night he caught the world-record contender, Myerson said fishing partner Matt Farina caught a 48-pounder. He said the wind has to be right, too. That night, the wind came up and the fish were moving.
He weighed the fish last Friday morning at Jack's Shoreline Bait and Tackle in Westbrook. He weighed it on the boat with a digital scale and it was 82 pounds, which prompted him to call ahead when they were coming back.
By the time they arrived, the word had spread and a crowd was there to witness local history.
He was competing in the On The Water magazine's Striper Cup tournament when he caught the super-heavyweight. He was the On The Water angler of the year last year with three bass that weighed more than 60 pounds.
Jack Vitek, records coordinator for the IGFA, said Tuesday that the record could be confirmed as early as 60 days from the catch date, Aug. 4.
The IGFA has a set of rules for applying for a world record:
n the fish must be weighed on certified scales;
n an IGFA record application must be filled out and notarized
n photos of the angler and the fish, the scales and the rod and reel must be submitted with the application
n plus samples of the leader and a minimum of 50 yards of the line. They test the line for breakage point to determine line class records. In this case, it is an all-tackle application.
Vitek said he will put all the information into a database and meet with the IGFA president and conservation director to go over everything. They might request witness testimony.
Vitek said he is looking forward to getting the application.
Myerson has an Atlantic City connection. His father brought him here on vacations when he was a kid, staying at Boardwalk hotels. He also spent a few days at the Sen. Frank S. Farley Marina in Atlantic City riding out rough ocean when he took his uncle's boat from Greenport, Conn., to West Palm Beach, Fla.
He said that trip was memorable because he met golf legend Arnold Palmer. "I'm a golfer, so I was into that," he said.