Anglers break 11 size records for 9 fish in one year, Alabama Gulf Seafood announces

Anglers fishing in Alabama waters broke multiple state records for saltwater fish between October 2021 and October 2022 — some more than once, Alabama Gulf Seafood announced.

Eleven fish entered the state record books during this period, with two claiming the top spot for just a few months. Both the sheepshead — a common catch among anglers in Alabama waters — and the elusive permitfish have twice held records for the largest fish of its kind yet caught.

For Sheepshead, a fish weighing 14 pounds, 4 ounces caught by Wesley Olsen held the state record just months before Kendale Jeans recorded one weighing 16 pounds, 6.6 ounces. Similarly, Annalize Wilson held the state permit record by reeling in a fish weighing 6 pounds, 0.54 ounces for just 10 months, until Patrick Willis recorded an 8 pounds, 2.4 ounce permit .

“We’re thrilled with the size and number of fish we’re seeing from our anglers,” said Scott Bannon, director of the Marine Resources Division at the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “More and more Alabamaans are taking to the water and enjoying our state’s abundant fishing opportunities.”

Seven other record-breaking fish caught during the period were:

  • Blackjack, 13 pounds, 1.6 ounces, caught by William Atkins.
  • Blackline Tilefish, 1 lb, 6.4 oz, caught by Gavin Dunnam.
  • Horse-Eye Jack, 30 pounds, 4 ounces, caught by Bennie Goldman Jr.
  • Jolthead Porgy, 9 pounds, 2.88 ounces, caught by Chase Mitchell.
  • Lizardfish, 1 pound, 11.2 ounces, caught by Nelson Wingo.
  • Red cornet fish, 2 pounds, 5.4 ounces, caught by Wayne Akin.
  • Silvery John Dory, 5 pounds, 0.28 ounces, caught by Mark Russo.

The increase in record-breaking fish correlates with advanced fishing electronics now available to the sports enthusiast. Anglers have access to better boats, radars, and safety gear, and Alabama fishermen are taking advantage of these upgraded gear on both inshore and offshore fishing trips.

“The technological advances that the fishing industry has seen in recent years is a key reason for the increase in large fish that we’re seeing,” Bannon said. “Not only do people feel more comfortable going deeper on offshore trips, they also bear better fruit.”

Alabama’s anglers have reached a record pace over the past two years. With 2023 underway, Alabama Gulf Seafood expects more records in the future.

For more information on Gulf of Alabama Seafood click here.