Anglers will now be able to use videos to prove their giant catches after a fisherman’s record-smashing 21lb sea bass was rejected because no-one witnessed it.
Guntars Zukovskis, 26, caught a whopping 21lbs 5oz sea bass while fishing alone on a Somerset beach in February last year.
He took a video of the huge fish while weighing it on the scales, hoping to claim a new British record, as the catch would have smashed the record for the biggest ever sea bass by almost 2lbs.
Guntars Zukovskis, 26, from Bridgwater, Somerset, caught a whopping 21lbs 5oz sea bass while fishing alone in February last year. Pictured: Guntars holding his colossal sea bass
However, his dreams were dashed by the British Record Fish Committee whose strict rules state that all applications must have been witnessed by at least one other person.
Now, the Angling Trust is to allow video footage to be used as evidence of record catches for the first time following the controversial case.
Guntars, a keen sea angler from Bridgwater, Somerset, who works as a supermarket manager, was night fishing by himself so set up the video on his smart phone when he realised he had hooked a potential whopper.
His video shows him struggling to lift the fish in its weighing sling and then the reading on the digital display of 22lbs 2ozs (13oz of that is the weight of the sling).
He was confident the footage of him weighing the beast would be enough to win over the judges and tip the scales in his favour.
But his application was rejected by the committee and it will instead be placed on its ‘Notable Fish List’.
He took a video of the huge catch (pictured) while weighing it on the scales, hoping to claim a new British record – by almost 2lbs – but it was rejected by the British Record Fish Committee because no-one else witnessed it
Guntars is not the only angler to fall foul of the controversial rules which also state that any potential record fish must be weighed on scales on land, meaning anything caught at sea must be killed.
Now the Angling Trust, which governs the sport, is set to change its rules which have been in place since the committee was founded in 1968.
As a result of Guntars’ case they will now accept video footage as evidence for the very first time.
However, they have ruled it would not be fair to back date the rule to allow the bass caught by Guntars.
Nick Simmonds, secretary of the British Record Fish Committee, said: ‘We were unable to accept Guntars’ fish as a new record because BRFC protocol requires there to be at least one witness to the weighing of a potential record fish.
‘Unfortunately, Guntars was fishing alone when he caught his magnificent bass and although he made a video recording of the weighing of the fish, we reluctantly concluded that we could not set a precedent by breaking our own rule.
‘However, we do unanimously acknowledge the validity of Guntars’ claim and all agree that this is a fabulous fish and a truly exceptional capture.
‘As a result of its deliberations over Guntars’ claim, we will now consider putting in place protocol to permit the submission of video evidence of the capture and/or weighing of a potential record fish if no witness can be available.
‘This will take careful consideration and we have decided we could not apply such a change retrospectively, so Guntars’ fish will be recorded on our Notable Fish List. ‘
Now, as a result of Guntars’ case, the Angling Trust, which governs the sport, is set to change its rules to accept video footage as evidence for the very first time (file photo)
Guntars said he is still proud to have caught the specimen which he returned to the sea alive.
His fish was bigger than the 19lb 12oz British shore-caught bass record that has stood since 2012.
It was also heavier than the official boat-caught bass record of 19lb 9oz that has stood since 1987.
He said: ‘It is disappointing in a way but it was never really about the record for me. I was pushed by some friends to enter it and never really expected anything else to be honest.
‘It would have been nice but I’m just proud to have caught such a huge fish – I just love the sport of fishing.’
Guntars was actually fishing for conger eel when he caught the big bass using a frozen bait and it took around 15 minutes to reel in.
He said: ‘That night was really cold and rainy and I was just preparing to pack up when it bit.
‘I knew as soon as I saw it pop up that it was a special fish and in the back of my mind I was aware the record was below 20lbs. Once I got it in I couldn’t believe it and the weight was amazing on the scales.
‘It is good the BRFC are considering changing the rules and hopefully it may help someone else claim a record.’