Brett Rutledge will soon be the bearer of a new Alabama state fishing record, after hauling in a gargantuan 84.9 pound Cubera Snapper off of Dauphin Island.
Rutledge and pal David Simms were trolling in ~175ft of water south of Dauphin Island in search of King Fish. After having caught a few Amberjack throughout the day, Rutledge heard his drag scream and instinctively believed it to be another AJ.
Trolling 30lb-test on a Shimano Speedmaster, Rutledge immediately knew it wasn’t an Amberjack after the fish darted away from the underwater structure they were fishing, then believing it to be a shark.
“At first I thought it was a big amberjack because I’d caught quite a few jacks earlier. But when it ran away from the wreck we were fishing, I immediately thought it was a shark,” said Rutledge, who, besides being an avid recreational fisherman, holds a commercial fishing license. “Then I got a visual on it and told David, ‘Get the gaff!'”
It took about 30 minutes to finally get the big fish alongside Rutledge’s 26-foot Panga since it had hit a king mackerel rod fitted with a relatively small Shimano Speedmaster reel spooled with only 30-pound-test monofilament line.
“When David got the gaff in it, he said he couldn’t get it over the side, so I had to put down the rod and help him,” Rutledge said. “As soon as it hit the deck I knew it was over 60 or 70 pounds. I told him, ‘That one’s going to have a shot at being a state record.'”
The fish was nearly 4-feet long and had a similar stomach girth, he said.
While this fish absolutely shatters the existing Alabama record for Cubera Snapper (approval pending), it falls short of a world record. According to IGFA, the ruling body of recreational fishing records, the world record is held by Marion Rose who in 2007 caught a 124lb 12oz Cubera Snapper in Garden Bank, Louisiana.
Brett Rutledge’s fish is estimated to be over 36 years old, as determined by an earbone test conducted on the fish, and was also determined to be a female as evidenced by the presence of ovaries.