August 13, 2019
By Lynn Burkhead
Georgia has a new women’s saltwater state record after a recent catch about 60-miles east of St. Mary’s, Ga.
That news comes according to a Georgia Department of Natural Resources news release from the agency’s Coastal Resources Division.
State fisheries officials confirmed the new state record for mutton snapper (Lutjanus analis) following the landing of an 18-pound, 9.92-ounce specimen on Aug. 4, 2019 by angler Janet Monroe.
Monroe, who will receive a state-record certificate for her catch, reportedly landed the big fish using a circle hook slip rig with live grunt as the rig’s bait. Certified on a certified scale at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Brunswick office, this is the first Peach State record entry for a women’s mutton snapper.
Click here to read about more fishing records
A common snapper in the western Atlantic Ocean, the mutton snapper typically ranges from a northern limit of Massachusetts down to Florida and further south to South America. Frequently caught on live bait near reefs, the fish is also common in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.
With a melon-colored tail and small blue streaks accenting its olive, yellow, orange, and red skin tones, the mutton snapper is considered a hard-fighting game fish whose light, flaky, white meat is exceptional on the dinner table.
According to the 2019 World Record Game Fishes record book published by the International Game Fish Association, the all-tackle world record for the species is a 30-pound, 4-ounce mutton snapper caught by Richard Casey on Nov. 29, 1998 at Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys.
While there is no indication from Georgia authorities as to the size of line Monroe used, the largest mutton snapper landed by a woman in the eight different line-class categories maintained by IGFA (2-lb., 4-lb., 6-lb., 8-lb., 12-lb., 16-lb., 20-lb., and 30-lb.) is a 23-pound, 3-ounce specimen caught on May 8, 1999 near Miami, Fla. by Kathleen McMillan.
To also help put Monroe’s recent Georgia catch into proper perspective as a world class fish, it’s worth nothing that several other mutton snapper line-class records in the women’s IGFA record book are in the 16-, 17-, and 18-pound range.
In addition to her Georgia state-record certificate and being included in next year’s 2020 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations guide, Monroe’s new record will also be put on the state-records list maintained online.
What should Peach State anglers do if they catch their own big saltwater fish this summer? Anglers wanting to have a fish considered for a state record must have the fish weighed on a Georgia Department of Agriculture-certified scale in the presence of at least one witness.
The Georgia DNR notes that such scales near saltwater angling venues 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 Coastal Regional Headquarters in Brunswick.
In addition to meeting minimum weight requirements, applications for a saltwater record should include color photographs of the potential record catch. Click here to see the list of state saltwater records.