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TFO’s Taylor Makes Angling History

Wanda Taylor is considered one of fly fishing’s female pioneers. The TFO advisor has now further etched her name in angling lore. It’s there in black and white.

A world record.

Propelled by the guidance of fellow TFOer Jake Jordan, Taylor set the IGFA mark in early February when she bagged a 33-pound spearfish off Kona, Hawaii. Official confirmation came from the IGFA late last week when Taylor received a certificate, which noted the tippet class (20 pounds), along with the weight and date of the catch.

For the record, Taylor used TFO’s heavy-duty Bluewater rod with a pink and white Jake Jordan Big Popper Marlin fly.

“I’ve never been one to chase world records, but I had the opportunity to (do so),” Taylor said. “I know what it means to Jake and the team. It was pretty special and for women in general. There are people who have a passion for it. I’m not sure I have a passion for it. I count it as a blessing to have that opportunity to do it. It wasn’t something where I woke up and wanted to break a world record.”

Jordan and his crew suspected the fish was a possible world record moments after the catch, but had to wait nearly four months for the IGFA to navigate the approval process.

“I had never experienced this before,” Taylor said. “I didn’t know if it was going to be a long wait or a short wait. I didn’t realize the process of a world record is from around the world, not just from Florida, Georgia or Hawaii. They have thousands and thousands of entries. It just takes a while to test the leaders, to make sure everything was correctly done. With all that in mind, it was really a short wait.”

Turns out, the wait was worth it.

“I was surprised how beautiful (the certificate) is,” Taylor said. “They are so well done. The fish is on the document. It’s raised, really beautifully done. I was really relieved for the captain (and crew). They had a lot of records on conventional tackle. This one was on fly and one that’s rare as a short-bill spearfish.”

The trip to Hawaii came as a part of Jordan’s Spearfish Fly Fishing School. All were aboard Captain Kevin Nakamaru’s 37 Merritt “Northern Lights.”

Give Taylor credit for landing the fish; give the captain and crew credit for putting her in proper position.

“They were huge,” Taylor said. “It makes a difference if you have a captain that knows what he’s doing. It’s a team effort. The key is keeping your watch angle, so the captain can see what you’re doing. You have to keep calm, so you can hear what the captain is saying and know what he’s seeing because he’s the one with the view. You don’t have that view because you’re in the back of the boat. It’s important to have that communication.”

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Dahlberg Headed to IGFA Hall of Fame

Larry Dahlberg has caught more big fish than just about anyone in angling history. For nearly 25 years, the host of The Hunt for Big Fish has scoured the globe for everything from Nile River Perch to Suriname Catfish.

As it turns out, Dahlberg will need to take a break from his angling odyssey in a few weeks for a visit to Springfield, Mo., when he will be inducted into the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame.

“I am,” said Dahlberg, “overwhelmed and humbled.”

Dahlberg received the news last spring by mail via a formal IGFA induction letter to his Taylors Falls, Minn. residence. The TFO national advisory staffer joins fellow inductees Rick Clunn (four-time Bassmaster Classic winner), Peter Fithian (Hawaiian Billfish Tournament founder), Mike Levitt (white marlin world-record holder) and Eric Prince (billfish biologist). All are part of the IGFA’s 19th hall-of-fame class, which will be officially introduced on Oct. 28.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a bunch of really good anglers,” Dahlberg said during a phone interview last week. “Some are well known and some are unknown. You pick up a little bit from each one of them. I was born in a tiny town of 931 people in a little backwater of Wisconsin. I never had any plans to leave the county. I had everything I needed 15 miles from where I was standing. Now it’s been 50, 60 years, and I’ve been to 87 countries and it’s been just a blur. I’m in disbelief of a whole lot of things, actually. How did I get so old? Where did all the time go?”

Equally adept with a baitcaster, fly rod or spinning reel, Dahlberg is best known for his TV show, The Hunt for Big Fish, which has been on the air since the early 1990s. He also has invented a number of lures and flies and is perhaps best known for designing the Dahlberg Diver.

“Larry’s lifelong commitment to growing the body of fishing knowledge and then sharing it, has significantly benefitted anglers and the growth of our sport globally,” Temple Fork CEO Frank-Paul King said.

Dahlberg is the fourth TFO staffer to receive IGFA Hall-of-Fame honors. The other three are Lefty Kreh (2003), Gary Loomis (2007) and Flip Pallot (2015).

“Larry rightly joins Lefty, Flip and Gary as IGFA Hall of Famers, not for what they’ve done, but for what they’ve shared,” King said of Dahlberg, who helped develop the series of TFO Big Fish rods. “For 22 years, TFO’s mission has been making more anglers good for the good of the sport and as a result, there’s a piece of each one of them in every rod we make. For this reason, we are extremely humbled and proud to call them our heroes, mentors and friends.”

The IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame recognizes significant achievements in recreational fishing around the world by anglers, captains, scientists, conservationists, writers and fishing-industry leaders. The first class, honoring 29 of the sport’s greats, was inducted in 1998. Since then, 81 anglers have been welcomed at the annual induction ceremony in October of each year.