The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) and South African Anglers.

What does IGFA mean to a South African Angler?

"Well, it could mean absolutely nothing, or it can mean a lot".

"February 2005 IGFA Record Sharp Tooth Catfish 18,105 kg
Caught by Terry Babich Gauteng South Africa "

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You could go on fishing, alone or with your family and friends, for the rest of your life, and enjoy whatever you catch and all the experiences that an angler is exposed to. Nothing wrong with this, of course.

But if you are looking for new challenges, and enjoy setting goals and achieving them, you can add immeasurable excitement and purpose to your fishing by becoming an IGFA member and to fish for world records.

IGFA was founded in 1939 by such luminaries as Michael Lerner and Ernest Hemingway to establish ethical international angling regulations and to serve as the central processing centre for world record catches.

In the early seventies it expanded its objectives to work at all levels of government and industry for the conservation of fishes and their natural habitats.

Today IGFA is housed in its new headquarters, the IGFA Hall of Fame and Museum in Dania Beach, Florida U.S.A., built at a cost of $32 million two years ago.

It houses the world’s largest collection of sportfishing information, exhibits, educational classes, fishing demonstrations, interactive displays and virtual reality fishing. Walk into the 60 000 square foot main entrance and you are immediately "immersed" in an underwater world filled with fish.

The ceiling is designed to look like a boat’s hull. There are 170 species of game fish that earned world record status , from giant bluefin tuna to brown trout, suspended above with all the relevant information concerning these catches. The largest mount is a great white shark of 1 208 kgs caught by Australian Alfred Dean in 1959.

There are also seven educational and entertainment galleries, the Hall of Fame featuring great anglers of the past, antique tackle, descriptions of fishing hot spots throughout the world, a marina with fishing boats and a 3-acre wetlands exhibit.


The IGFA library has a collection of more than 12 000 books, from rare first editions to the latest books in print.

Most of the world’s fishing magazines are also to be found here, as are more than 1 600 fishing videos and programmes. Many valuable works of fishing art and classic fishing films as well as al the pictures of IGFA world records dating back to the turn of the previous century are archived here.

The IGFA Hall of Fame and Museum is a popular destination for anglers and the general public from throughout the world - if you ever manage to visit it, plan at least two full days for it!


As the official keeper of world records, IGFA maintains two major categories of records, namely "All-Tackle" and "Line-Class" records.


The All Tackle category is used for fish that do not occur throughout the world. The only line restriction is that the fish must be caught on line with a breaking strain of 60 kg or less.

The fish must represent a valid species with a recognised scientific name, it must be a species commonly fished for with rod and reel in the general area where the catch is made, and it must be identifiable based on photos and other data presented with the record application.

All fresh and saltwater fish in South African waters that have a mass of at least 0,453kg (1 lb) qualify for this category


The Line Class category is used for fishes that are generally recognised as game fish in several countries.

They are registered according to the strength of the main line. Fly Rod world records are registered according to tippet strength. Each species recognised for line class records is also recognised for fly fishing tippet records.

Freshwater fish in South Africa with a mass of at least 0,453kg (1 lb) that qualify for this category include Laregemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Carp, Sharptooth Catfish, Tigerfish, Brown and Rainbow Trout.

Our Blue Kurper, for example, can register an All Tackle world record but not a Line Class one. But for the carp, both Line Class and All Tackle records may be claimed.


Herein lies the challenge of IGFA membership for South African anglers. There are many fish not yet recognised for Line Class records but which can be entered for an All Tackle world record. And there are several species available in South African lakes, dams and rivers, and also along our coastline, that qualify for Line Class records.


What sets IGFA apart from other fishing organisations is that both members and non-members may claim official world records. The difference being that non-members pay a larger record application fee.

Individual membership is $35 a year. Because of the extreme fluctuations of the South African rand, and to make it more affordable, the South African Deep Sea Angling Association (SADSAA) acts as a depository for IGFA membership fees which are now pegged at R200. This is merely paid to SADSAA and the membership is registered.

All you have to do is to send your name, age and address details to:

c/o The Treasurer,
P O Box 20545,
Durban North 4016.

For this fee the member receives:

  1. The annual "World Record Game Fishes", a glossy , 356-page publication that is the only official guide to world record catches. The book also includes informative angling articles by renowned outdoor writers and fishery scientists, species identification, information and illustrations, a knot-tying guide, tagging information and much more.
  2. The bi-monthly "International Angler" magazine which reports angling activities around the world, updates world records, information on important research, news of new and established fishing destinations, and reports on IGFA activities.
  3. A membership card.
  4. An embroidered jacket badge.
  5. Membership decals for display on vehicles, windows, tackle boxes and so on.
  6. News releases on late-breaking fishing related news.
  7. Access to IGFA’s comprehensive range of outdoor clothing, jewellery and other fishing related accessories.
  8. Discounts at hundreds of fishing resorts around the world.

Junior Club members receive the official IGFA Junior Club cap, decals, embroidered badge, membership card and the "International Junior Angler" magazine. The junior membership fee is R90.

Go for it!

When your record is accepted and approved, you become a member of a very special group of anglers, the only anglers in the world who wear the distinctive "IGFA World Record Holder" embroidered badge.

Together with it you receive a gold embossed record certificate, and your details are published in "The International Angler" (possibly with your photo as well) and is recorded in the "World Record Game Fishes " book. Your catch is automatically entered into IGFA’s Annual Fishing Contest.

The two freshwater fish in South Africa that qualify for IGFA line class world records, and that are fished for most, are carp and barbel. Here are their record details.


So, just like many thousands of South Africans, you are a carp angler. Every year thousands upon thousands of anglers all around the world spend millions searching for a new world record. South African waters have huge populations of carp, so the opportunities are endless.

The current record list is:

Line Class:

1kg - 13.15kg
2kg - 16.00kg
3kg - 14.96kg
4kg - 21.77kg
6kg - 34.35kg
8kg - 25,85kg
10kg - 26.22kg
15kg - 37.30kg
24kg - 12,14kg

All Tackle:


Fly Rod Line Class (Tippet):

1kg - 8.60kg
2kg - 9,45kg
3kg - 8,29kg
4kg -12,98kg


8kg - 8,11kg

10kg - 13.40kg

Sharptooth Catfish (Barbel).

In South Africa this fine sportfish is commonly called the "barbel". It was added to the Line Class category only in 1999, so there are many records just waiting to be caught. It is South Africa’s largest indigenous sport fish.


4kg - 17,10kg
Andre Havenga, 2000 (pending).
6kg - 25.00kg
Andre Havenga, 1999.
15kg - 11.00kg
Andre Havenga, 2000 (pending).

All Tackle:

36.00kg - Hennie Moller, 1992. (The previous record holder was John Ward with a fish of 33,3kg, caught in 1991).

Fly Rod Line Class:

All the Fly Rod records are still vacant.


Members will receive all the necessary forms upon becoming a member. Non-members may contact the South African IGFA Representative, Eugene Kruger, by writing to: P O Box 912 1152, Silverton 0127, or faxing their enquiry to (012) 804 4552.


Any brand or make of fishing line may be used, but it must meet IGFA’s standards. If, for example, you are claiming a 4kg line class record, your line must not exceed 4kg breaking strain.

It stands to reason that it is preferable to use only good quality line.

by Eugene Kruger

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