August 16, 2019
By Lynn Burkhead
It’s been quite a summer for Georgia saltwater anglers with recent news of a women’s state record mutton snapper being caught by angler Janet Monroe earlier in August 2019.
A couple of days later, there’s more breaking news via a news release from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources about a Brunswick angler setting a new state saltwater gamefish record for African pompano.
In fact, the big fish caught by Alvin Dezern on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019 shattered the previous state record by more than 14 pounds. Weighing in at 37 pounds, 1.28 ounces, the African pompano (Alectis ciliaris) was caught approximately 43 miles east-southeast of St. Simons Island.
With the weight of Dezern’s big fish certified by the DNR’s Coastal Resources Division in Brunswick using a scale certified by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the fish topped the previous benchmark of 23 pounds, 14.4 ounces.The previous record fish was caught last August by Mike McCullough, Jr. of Savannah.
Dezern’s catch was a very solid African pompano when comparing to the International Game Fish Association 2019 record book.
In that list, the African pompano’s all-tackle record is a 50-pound, 8-ounce specimen caught by Tom Sargent near Daytona Beach, Fla., on April 21, 1990. A glance at the various line-class records maintained by the IGFA (from 2 pounds on up to 30 pounds) shows record weights generally falling in the 30-pound plus to 40-pound plus range.
With light bluish-green accents on a generally silver body, the African pompano resembles a trevally, and is in fact also known by the nickname of threadfin trevally. Regarded by some as solid table fare, the tropical species is generally considered to be a fine game fish that fights hard when hooked.
Like other anglers who catch a Georgia state record, the state DNR says that Dezern will receive a certificate signed by Gov. Brian Kemp that celebrates his catch. The record African pompano will also be added to Georgia’s online records list. The catch will also be included in the 2020 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations guide distributed statewide.
With the current run of saltwater state records in Georgia, what should Peach State anglers do if they catch their own big saltwater record fish this summer or upcoming fall?
First, to have a fish considered for a state record, the angler must have the fish species weighed on a Georgia Department of Agriculture-certified scale in the presence of at least one witness.
The Georgia DNR reports that such scales can usually be found at local seafood markets, grocery stores, and agricultural supply stores. Potential record catches can also be weighed during business hours at the DNR’s Coastal Regional Headquarters in Brunswick.In addition to meeting minimum weight requirements for certain species, applications for a saltwater record should include color photographs of the catch.