New Jersey Angler Hooks State Record Hybrid Fish, And It’s an Absolute Monster

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: Serhii Sobolevskyi

A New Jersey angler broke a state record after catching a hybrid fish.

According to reports from the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife, John Vayda reeled in a 16-pound-10-ounce hybrid striped bass. He was at the Monskville Reservoir in West Milford, New Jersey.

In a Facebook post, the agency said he caught the record-breaking fish on October 9. However, at the time, it wasn’t bass he was after but walleye, a freshwater perciform fish.

Per reports, Vayda went fishing with two of his buddies. Their visit to the Monskville Reservoir was also just a “practice run” for an upcoming trip.

“They were trolling in 20 feet of water when John caught the fish on 12-pound test monofilament,” the division wrote online. “The fish was most likely from a small New Jersey Fish & Wildlife stocking back in May of 2017.”

Hybrid striped bass is a hybrid species. According to New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), they are a mix between a white bass and a striped bass.

New Jersey man reels in aggressive, difficult-to-catch hybrid fish

First introduced in South Carolina in the mid-1960s, the bass were stocked in reservoirs across the Southeast. They have since been widely introduced across the country. “The combined traits of these two species make for a voracious fish,” the department says.

The hybridization creates a fast-growing, aggressive, hard-to-catch fish. It’s also well adapted to large lakes and reservoirs with big expanses of warm, open water.

The NJDEP adds that in the Garden State, a “good number” of hybrid striped bass weigh up to ten pounds.

“[Hybrid striped bass] are well adapted to large warm water lakes and reservoirs,” the department wrote. “They are a hard-hitting and strong fighting fish: so hold on tight to the fishing rod.”

According to the N.J. Division of Fish & Wildlife’s list of Record Freshwater Sport Fish, Vayda’s hybrid stripe bass measured 31 inches in length and 21 inches in circumference. He reportedly used a St. Croix fishing rod and Daiwa reel for his catch.

However, in other parts of the U.S., hybrid striped bass can “occasionally reach the 22-pound range,” but they don’t usually exceed ten pounds. According to Bass Online, they also generally weigh between two and five pounds when caught.

In addition, there are 90 species eligible for entry in New Jersey’s Record Fish Program.

Officials also said the fish was most likely from a “small stocking” in May 2017. In addition, data on the striped bass hybrid stocking program shows how small: Of the more than 47,000 hybrid stripers stocked in five New Jersey reservoirs that year, only five fish were released at Monksville.

The stocked fish were also larger, ranging in size from 16 to 25 inches with an average weight of five pounds.