Florida Woman Ties Major Georgia Saltwater Game Fish Record With Catch

by Craig Garrett
Freshly caught in the Atlantic Ocean Pompano fish on the sand of a beach - stock photo

A Florida woman’s catch of a pompano off the coast of Georgia has been certified and tied the record for the species. On October 9, Cathy Sanders of Palm Coast, Florida caught a 1-pound, 7.68-ounce Florida Pompano while surf fishing on St. Simons Island. Her catch is tied with the previous record holder. Laura Cheek landed a 1-pound, 7-ounce Florida Pompano on Sea Island in 1982. With 22 years of holding the title, her catch has set the bar high for future anglers. All On Georgia reports that Sanders’ Pompano fish was 12 inches long, starting from the fork. However, only weight factors into the record.

Sanders was at the Running of the Bulls youth tournament, volunteering with the Kids Can Fish Foundation. That’s when she reeled in this whopper. She’d been surf fishing with an Okuma Rockaway rod and 6000 reel. As bait, she used Electric Chicken-flavored Fishbites EZ Crab, Sinker Guys glass beads, and salted shrimp. This was on a 20-pound high visibility monofilament. She fished with a 2/0 circle hook on a double drop rig with a 3-ounce Guy Sputnik sinker.

Sanders is the first recipient of a newly designed state record certificate. The certificate now features an image of the record-setting species and a gold-color embossed state seal. It features the signatures from the governor, commissioner of DNR, and director of DNR’s Coastal Resources Division. This program administers the Georgia Saltwater Game Fish Records Program.

Why the pompano fish catch only tied the record, despite weighing more

Sanders’ catch qualified as a tie under the rules of the Georgia Saltwater Game Fish Records Program. This is because it weighed more than the current record. However, it did not exceed it by 4 ounces. The 2023 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulation Guide will list Sanders’s name as a current and past record holder.

Pompanos are a type of fish that belong to the genus Trachinotus in the family Carangidae. These fish have large, sickle-shaped dorsal fins, with long rays in the front and much shorter ones behind. The tail is similarly long, curved, and deeply forked. They are usually overall silvery in coloration, sometimes with dark or yellowish fins; one or a few black markings on their body side may also be present. They can grow quite large—up to about 3.9 feet—although most species only reach half or two-thirds of that size at maximum length. You’ll find them worldwide near warmer seas. However, they occasionally enter brackish waters as well.

Several United States Navy submarines have been named after this genus, including the USS Pompano and the USS Permit. Out of the 21 recognized species, most are valued as food and some are considered game fish – one example being the permit.