People fish for a variety of reasons. Maybe it’s just to unwind. Perhaps to spend time with friends. Or get something to eat. However, landing a world record fish remains a pipe dream for many who like fishing for recreation. If you want to fish in summer or plan to go when the fall season starts, you’ve probably spent some time thinking about pulling a giant that would leave you with the story of a lifetime. Perhaps you’ve sat on the beach, wondering what lies beneath the waves. It’s one thing to know what’s in New Jersey’s waters; it’s another to catch it!
With the Delaware River on the west and the wide Atlantic Ocean on the east, fishing in New Jersey is among the most thrilling experiences you can have. The waters of the “Garden State” are teeming with fish of all shapes and sizes. So what are the biggest trophy fish ever caught in New Jersey? This article lists ten of the biggest trophy fish caught in New Jersey and other fascinating facts.
1. Albacore Tuna – 77 lbs. 15 oz.
Albacore tunas have a diverse range of habitats. They thrive in saltwater or marine environments and prefer tropical, subtropical, and temperate waters, encompassing the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Albacore tuna develop quickly at first but slowly as they age, reaching approximately 80 pounds and 47 inches in length.
In early September 1984, Dr. Saveren Scannapiego was fishing in Spencer Canyon when he got two bites simultaneously. The first catch was a white marlin, which was promptly released. The second was a massive albacore tuna weighing 77 pounds and 15 ounces, which set the state record. Dr. Scannapiego told NJ Advance Media over the phone that he wasn’t sure what he’d captured initially but that his companion was shocked when they brought the fish onboard.
2. Blue Marlin – 1,046 lbs.
Blue marlins are among the most identifiable fish, native to the tropical and temperate regions of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They are cobalt-blue on top and silvery-white on the bottom, with a prominent dorsal fin and a long, fatal spear-shaped upper jaw. Females are substantially larger than males, reaching 14 feet in length and weighing more than 1,985 pounds, but the average weights range from 11 to 400 pounds.
The state record belongs to Phil Infantolino, who caught the 1,046-pound behemoth in Hudson Canyon in 1986. According to the records, this is the largest fish of any species ever taken in New Jersey.
3. Cobia – 90 lbs. 6 oz.
Cobia are long, slender saltwater fish with large heads and a lower jaw that extends past the upper jaw. They are typically three to four feet long and weigh 50 to 172 pounds.
In New Jersey, Len Andalis of Philadelphia caught a 90-pound 6-ounce Cobia on August 9, 2019. The catch outweighed the previous 20-year record by three pounds six ounces. Andalis was fishing from his boat off the coast of Cape May on the McCrie Shoal when the fish struck as he was casting. Andalis told WPVI-TV that he was fishing for flounder when he caught the record fish and had never caught a Cobia before.
4. Fluke – 19 lbs. 12 oz.
Fluke fish are typically found in nearshore coastal waters and bays where fishermen can catch them throughout the warmer months of the year, hence their other popular name, summer flounder. Fluke can grow to be more than 30 inches long and weigh more than 20 pounds, but one to three-pound fish are more common, with an eight-pounder considered huge. The state record for this species is held by Walter Lubin, with his catch weighing 19 pounds 12 ounces. He caught the massive fish off Cape May in 1953.
5. Golden Tilefish – 63 lbs. 8 oz.
The Atlantic golden tilefish is mostly found in saltwater. They are a demersal species that live on or near the seafloor and feed on benthic invertebrates. Tilefish weigh between 15 and 25 pounds and are typically two to four feet long. Larger individuals weighing 50 pounds have been documented, but that is no match for New Jersey’s state record. Dennis Muhlenforth caught a 63-pound, 8-ounce golden tilefish in Lindenkohl Canyon in 2009, holding the title as the state’s largest catch for that species.
6. King Mackerel – 54 lbs.
Mackerel is a saltwater fish belonging to the same family as bonito and tuna. The king mackerel is a medium-sized fish that can weigh between 11 and 30 pounds but is known to reach 90 pounds. Fernando Alfaiate set the state record when he caught a 54-pound king mackerel while fishing off of Cape May in 1998.
7. Pollock – 46 lbs. 7 oz.
Pollock is a saltwater fish of the cod family that lives in the north Pacific’s seas, oceans, and gulfs. They can grow three feet long and normally weigh one to three pounds. John Holton caught a 46-pound, 7-ounce pollock off the coast of Brielle in 1975, setting the state record. Holton’s catch was also acknowledged as the world record at the time.
8. Red Hake (Ling) – 12 lbs. 13 oz.
Red hake are a member of the cod family. Billy Watson caught a 12-pound, 13-ounce red hake at the Mud Hole on February 10, 2010. To give an idea of how huge his catch was, red hake rarely grow larger than six or seven pounds.
9. Sailfish – 43 lbs. 4 oz.
On September 18, 2006, John Tallia of Rock Hill, NY, was fishing the Lindenkohl Canyon when he caught a 43-pound, 4-ounce sailfish. His catch surpassed the previous record, which had stood since 1984, by two pounds, four ounces.
10. Saltwater Striped Bass – 78 lbs. 8 oz.
Al McReynolds caught a huge 78-pound, 8-ounce striped bass while fishing at night from the Vermont Avenue jetty in Atlantic City just days after the September 1982 Nor’easter. According to the official account, the fish took him an hour and 40 minutes to catch.
The International Game Fishing Association recognized McReynolds’ catch as an all-tackle world record at the time. The current all-tackle world record is an 81-pound, 14-ounce fish caught by Gregory Myerson in Connecticut in 2011.
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- , Available here: https://dep.nj.gov/njfw/fishing/marine/new-jersey-state-record-saltwater-fish/
- , Available here: https://www.nj.com/entertainment/2017/09/new_jersey_biggest_fish_records.html#:~:text=The%201%2C046%2Dpound%20behemoth%20was,least%20according%20to%20the%20records.&text=Blue%20Shark%3A%20366%20pounds%2C%20caught,in%20the%20Mud%20Hole.
- , Available here: https://www.nj.com/entertainment/2016/08/photos_the_biggest_saltwater_fish_ever_caught_in_n.html