Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Record Holders Use Buddy System; Area Duo Has Fished Together for Years; Now They Share World Mark for Speckled Perch

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Record Holders Use Buddy System; Area Duo Has Fished Together for Years; Now They Share World Mark for Speckled Perch

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE JULAVITS

Two Northeast Florida fly rodders who have been fishing buddies for years now share the same world record for speckled perch.

In fact, Joe Bruce of Keystone Heights and Wayne Mattox of Orange Park were fishing together when each caught his record speck, a.k.a. black crappie. The International Game Fish Association recently approved the record fly-rod catches, both of which were made on 8-pound tippet.

Bruce's speck weighed 2 pounds, 1 ounce and was caught March 24 in Lake Santa Fe in Melrose. Mattox's fish, also taken in Lake Santa Fe, weighed 2 pounds and was caught March 15.

Bruce and Mattox will be listed in the IGFA book as co-holders of the 8-pound-tippet record along with two other anglers. Jacksonville's Hamilton Franz caught a 1-pound, 15-ounce speck near White Springs in 1998, and a 2-pound speck was caught in 2002 in Fairfield Lake in Texas.

Under IGFA guidelines for fish that weigh up to 25 pounds, existing records must be eclipsed by 2 ounces to establish a new record.

"It was a sleeper -- I didn't expect a record," Bruce said.

"It's a tie, but still it's a record," Mattox said. "We enjoy fishing for speckled perch, and the records are just sort of a byproduct of that."

Both records came on a fly pattern that Bruce and Mattox tie themselves. It's a minnow-imitating streamer with red head and white body, wrapped with lead wire to give it weight. Bruce ties his with deer hair; Mattox uses chicken feathers in his version. A long-time speck fisherman, Bruce modeled the fly after the venerable Alibi jig used by many crappie seekers.

"That streamer fly evolved from the jig," Bruce said. "I've used that red and white jig everywhere I've fished, even for walleyes up in Canada."

Bruce and Mattox usually fish for specks on Lake Santa Fe with floating lines in 3-5 feet of water. On the cast, Mattox counts to 3 or 4, allowing the fly to sink, then retrieves line in short strips to give the offering a hopping movement. …

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