Huge Tuna Among 5 Saltwater State Records Approved in Florida

Huge Tuna Among 5 Saltwater State Records Approved in Florida

state records
Rick Whitley and his Florida-record bluefin tuna, along with Capt. Joey Birbeck and mates Dennis Bennett and Josh Goodson, of the vessel "You Never Know." (Photo courtesy of Rick Whitley)

Five new saltwater state records have been approved in Florida, including a monster tuna.


With the Florida state record for bluefin tuna previously vacant, Rick Whitley could've made it in the record books with just about any legal bluefin.



Instead, he went big — like "Wicked Tuna" big,

Whitley's 826-pound, 8-ounce bluefin not only filled the state's final open conventional-tackle record, it put up a number that may stand for a good long time. The fish was one of five new saltwater records approved by the state during the past year, according to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission news release this week.


Whitley caught the record May 8 of last year off Destin while fishing with Capt. Joey Birbeck and mates Dennis Bennett and Josh Goodson on the fishing vessel "You Never Know."


Other record saltwater catches approved in the past year:

  • Hardhead Catfish: Ethan Pillitteri (4-8, Port Charlotte)
  • Almaco Jack: Lewis Sapp (35-9, Destin)
  • Kingfish (whiting): Raymond A. Hathorn, Jr. (2-0, Navarre Beach)
  • Horse-Eye Jack: Sharon Kartrude Pryel (26-0, Juno Beach)

Saltwater record holders receive a certificate of accomplishment and a prize pack, and beginning this year will be awarded a custom ink fish print to memorialize their catch, courtesy of Fish Print Shop.

Florida maintains state all-tackle records for the heaviest marine fishes caught in Florida waters, or in federal waters extending directly outward of Florida state waters, for 77 species in both conventional tackle and fly-fishing categories. 

To qualify for the Florida Saltwater Fishing Records program the catch must be weighed on a certified scale. The angler's signature on a completed application form must be witnessed by a notary. Photographs of the angler with their catch are required. Species that are difficult to identify must be confirmed by a qualified fisheries biologist. For more information and to view current records, visit CatchaFloridaMemory.com and click on "Programs" and "Florida Saltwater Fishing Records", or contact AnglerRecognition@MyFWC.com or 850-487-0554.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Shooters across the U.S. are using this competition shooting mat. Guns

MidwayUSA Pro Series Shooting Mat

G&F Staff

Shooters across the U.S. are using this competition shooting mat.

 Several factors need to be evaluated before reaching a conclusion about what fly, lure or bait Trout & Salmon

How to Catch the Biggest Trout in the Stream

David Paul Williams

Several factors need to be evaluated before reaching a conclusion about what fly, lure or...

Try these tips to improve your wild boar hunting skill set. Hogs

Quick Tips: How to Spot and Stalk a Hog

Ian Nance - May 28, 2019

Try these tips to improve your wild boar hunting skill set.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

As KVD tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, innovative Humminbird products and cutting-edge technology like that found in the new Mega 360 Imaging sonar are major reasons contributing to his unparalleled success.

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

Major League Fishing pros Alton Jones, Jeff Sprague, Anthony Gagliardi and James Watson share their thoughts on how to approach fishing a new lake for bass.

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

From rugged reliability to smooth integration of cutting edge technology across several different platforms, OSG's Lynn Burkhead learns that there's much to like about the new Optimum and Optimum TS downriggers from Canon.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures? Other Freshwater

5 Great Lures For Bluegills

Stephen D. Carpenteri - March 10, 2011

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures?

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths. Catfish

5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton - September 16, 2015

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a species Catfish

10 Biggest Catfish World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - December 08, 2014

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a...

See More Stories

More Saltwater

Summertime is a great time to be on the beach — catching fish. Saltwater

Surf's Up: Catch Fish While on Vacation

Mike Marsh - July 25, 2019

Summertime is a great time to be on the beach — catching fish.

‘Great Red Snapper Count' includes angler incentives to report tagged fish. News

Gulf Red Snapper Could Be Worth $500 Each

G&F Online Staff - June 05, 2019

‘Great Red Snapper Count' includes angler incentives to report tagged fish.

Red drum are found feeding on low, high or in-between tides. Understand this and catch more fish. Saltwater

Top Tactics for Catching Tidal Redfish

Jimmy Jacobs - June 04, 2019

Red drum are found feeding on low, high or in-between tides. Understand this and catch more...

See More Saltwater

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×