Fisherman goes deep to catch record fish

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Fishing far off the New Jersey coast in waters up to 1,000-feet deep, George Hanakis reeled up a 23-pound, 8-ounce gray tilefish that beat the state record by a mere four ounces, but it could also qualify as a world record. It’s all in the name.

The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife announced last week it had certified the gray tilefish as a state record.

The gray tilefish measured 34 inches in length with a 25-inch girth.

Hanakis used 100-pound test of braided line to catch the bottomfish from Wilmington Canyon, located some 70 nautical miles off southern New Jersey. He was fishing aboard the 125-foot charter boat Jamaica, which strongly suggests using braided line since they fish in very deep water, up to 1,000 feet.

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Interestingly, New Jersey recognizes only two species of tilefish for records: the gray and golden, according to Outdoor Life.

Outdoor Life explains how Hanakis’ fish could be a world record:

The gray tilefish is recognized as the blueline tilefish by the International Game Fish Association, and by other states such as Maryland. Both monikers for tilefish are for the same species, identified by scientists as Caulolatilus microps.

This name difference and proper species identification may prove significant for Hanakis’ N.J. state record, since IGFA currently recognizes the all-tackle record for the blueline tilefish species as 23 pounds 4 ounces. The current world-record tilefish was caught off New Jersey by Mark Milici in May 2015.

Outdoor Life reports that if Hanakis submits paperwork of his state-record catch to the IGFA as a blueline tilefish, his fish “likely could be a new all-tackle IGFA record for the species.”