North

Next world record? Aklavik man's huge loche is in the running

James Blake, an Aklavik, N.W.T., man who caught a huge loche last month, could break the world record for heaviest fish in the category, according to the world records coordinator for the International Game Fish Association (IGFA).

World records for fish in Canada’s North are 'pretty impressive,' says world records coordinator

James Blake caught this loche last month. Now, he could hold the next world record for heaviest loche. (submitted by James Blake)

James Blake from Aklavik, N.W.T., caught a huge loche last month, and now he could break the world record for heaviest fish in the category, according to the world records coordinator for International Game Fish Association (IGFA).

Blake will hold the record for all-time heaviest loche (also called burbot) in all categories if his application goes through the two-month review process with the association. Some categories include junior class, and for fish caught with different techniques like fly or line fishing.

"It's pretty cool," said James Blake. "To have my name there, just to say that you have something in the world records."

The head of the 1.12 metre loche that Blake caught. It was so heavy that the hook almost ripped its lip off, said Blake. (submitted by James Blake)

Blake's loche measured at 1.12 metres long and weighed just under 12.7 kilograms.  

Compare that to the current world record holder: a 1.02 metre-long loche that came just under 11.4 kilograms. It was caught in 2010 by Sean Konrad in Saskatchewan's Lake Diefenbaker.

It would be a pending world record.- Jack Vitek, International Game Fish Association

Blake's fish beats that current record by more than a kilogram.

"It would be a pending world record," said Jack Vitek, world records coordinator for the game fish association.  

Blake said he's planning to submit his application only to the IGFA.

Canada's North has 'strong foothold' on records

Vitek said that from a world perspective, "Canada's north has a strong foothold… on premier game fish."

"It is pretty impressive," he said.

He pointed out five main species of fish with world record dominance in the three territories: Arctic char, northern pike, lake trout, lake whitefish and the Arctic grayling. 

Blake's catch would make him the only world record holder for loche fish in all of the territories. Currently, there are 10 records for heaviest loche in various categories from Saskatchewan, British Columbia and the U.S.

Here are the North's current world records for heaviest fish: 

Canada's North currently holds 57 of the world's roughly 7,500 world records for fish. Although the proportion seems miniscule, Vitek said he still finds world records for certain fish in the North impressive and the region shouldn't be overlooked. 

"If you want to catch a world record Arctic char, that region is probably the best bet," said Vitek.

Twenty of the 21 world records of Arctic char are dispersed throughout the territories. 

Most world records seem to have come from three bodies of water in the North: Great Slave Lake, Great Bear Lake, and Tree River.

What will he win? 

The two-page application requires witness information, photographs of the certified scale used to measure, a physical sample of the line, and photos of the fish for identification. 

A traditional hook Blake made and used to catch his huge loche. (submitted by James Blake)

"Nothing too crazy as far as weird questions," said Vitek. "It's pretty straightforward."

If Blake's application is successful, Blake would receive a customized embossed logo certificate signed by the board and president of the association.

Blake's name would also be entered in IGFA's 400-page world record book every year until someone beats it, said Vitek.

"That's pretty much it. That and some bragging rights, I guess you can say," he said.

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