Five new Florida Saltwater Fishing Records were approved in the past year, including an 826-pound, 8-ounce bluefin tuna caught by Rick Whitley off Destin, along with Capt. Joey Birbeck and mates, Dennis Bennett and Josh Goodson, of the vessel “You Never Know.” Whitley’s impressive catch took the vacant bluefin tuna state record slot, filling the final vacancy in the conventional tackle category.
Other record catches approved in the past year include a 4-pound, 8-ounce hardhead catfish caught by Ethan Pillitteri; a 35-pound, 9-ounce almaco jack caught by Lewis Sapp; a 2-pound kingfish (whiting) caught by Raymond A. Hathorn, Jr.; and a 26-pound horse-eye jack caught by Sharon Kartrude Pryel. 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.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) 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. There are still several vacancies left for anglers to fill in the fly-fishing tackle category.
Florida Saltwater Fishing Records are part of FWC’s Catch a Florida Memory – Saltwater Angler