A Florida fishing guide caught a potential world record Pacific snook two weeks ago in Costa Rica.
Ward Michaels, a snook guide from Orlando, Fla., has been searching for monster snook on both sides of Costa Rica for more than 27 years. Two weeks ago, he bagged one for the record books. His 60-pound catch will likely become an International Game and Fish Association (IGFA) world record.
Florida Today's Bill Sargent reported that Michaels caught a Pacific black snook, the largest of the six snook subspecies. The world record Pacific black snook was 57 pounds 12 ounces set in 1991 in Costa Rica. Michaels has already submitted his record application to the IGFA and is confident that his catch will be verified for a world record.
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"I've been talking with the IGFA and they said there wouldn't be a problem," Michaels told Florida Today. "People in Costa Rica are working on it. It'll require a lot of paperwork, but I'll get it done."
Michaels is an experienced snook guide who guides clients out of Orlando for thousands of dollars, but he said he learned a thing or two from local Costa Rican fishermen. They taught him about snook spawning habits around river mouths on the ocean, and where the big females hang out off shore before moving inland.
Michaels was fishing with friends from Texas when he caught the potential record Pacific snook. They were fishing south of Quepos on the central Pacific side of Costa Rica . In three days of fishing, the anglers caught more than a dozen monster snook, some of which were in the 47-50 pound range. To snag the 60 pounder, Michaels trolled with six-inch sardines and used a St. Croix rod with a seven-foot medium-to-heave action and a Calcutta 400 reel spooled with 30-pound braid and 40-pound Sufix fluorocarbon leader.
He's caught large snook on both sides of Costa Rica before, but said this catch will be the one he never forgets.
"You're always happy to get 30 to 35 pounders, but to find fish of this size in one area is unbelieveable," he said." I'll probably never see it again."