Two potential state-record fish caught on Friday

Two potential state-record fish caught on Friday
Don Ruiz of San Clemente, Ca., poses with the 185-pount tarpon he caught near Cat Island on Friday. (Source: John Fitzhugh)

LONG BEACH, Miss. (WLOX) - Here's a fish tale you can believe.

A San Clemente, California, man caught what he thinks is a state-record tarpon.

The man was trolling for tarpon near Cat Island on Friday when he hooked the 77-inch long, 185.5-pound fish. He had already caught and released one fish when he hooked the big one.

“We knew we had a big one because it was spooling the reel pretty quickly and jumping way out there,” said Don Ruiz. “We started up the boat and started chasing it. It took 45 minutes before we got it to the boat.”

Ruiz is a Gulf Coast native who said he comes to visit a couple of times a year.

He plans on having a fiberglass mount of the fish based on photographs. A local artist also came out to make a press painting of the catch. The fish itself will be donated to the Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs.

The Department of Marine Resources came to Long Beach Harbor to weigh and measure the fish. If the Commission on Marine Resources approves the catch, they will declare it a new record at their next meeting. The current record for tarpon is 167 pounds, caught by Keith Goodfellow in 2001.

Ruiz was out with Captain Jeremy McHugh of Stillwater Fishing Charters. Neither man was willing to say what lure he used except to say it was orange.

A second potential state-record fish was brought in to DMR later on Friday. Sean Cook of Pascagoula was spear fishing off shore when he got a 9-pound, 15-ounce permit, a type of pompano. That would shatter the current record of 2 pounds, 4 ounces. Cook is a member of the DeepWater Mafia dive group.

DMR recently created a second category of state records. Along with Conventional Tackle, rod and reel, the category of All Tackle has been created to cover fish caught by net, gigging and spearfishing.

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