A 56-pound, 8-ounce golden tilefish, caught on June 10, 2008 by Aaron Sledd of Virginia Beach, has been certified as the new Virginia state record for the species by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. The record-setting tilefish measured 44 inches (TL) and the roe-laden female sported a 33-1/4-inch girth.
Sledd was fishing off the Virginia Beach coast near the Norfolk Canyon with Captain Steve Wray aboard the charter vessel Ocean Pearl in approximately 600 feet of water when the record-setting fish was hooked. Three other members of the charter party hooked-up with large fish simultaneously. But hammerhead sharks cut the line on one rig and the hooks were straightened on the two other lines. Sledd's double hook bottom rig, which was tied with 400-pound mono and a pair of heavy 10/0 Owner hooks, was the only rig that held and it withstood a 30 minute wrestling match between angler and fish. The record golden tilefish was caught on a well traveled Penn Slammer Stand-up rod and a 6/0 High-speed Senator reel packed with 80-pound PowerPro braided line. Squid was used for bait.
Golden tilefish was added to the list of eligible species for state record consideration in November 2006 with an initial qualifying weight of 40 pounds. Jeffery Dail was the initial record holder, with a 44-pound golden tilefish caught on April 29, 2007. Dail's record was bested by Charles Maresh on September 22, 2007 with a 53-1/2-pound tilefish and was the current state record fish prior to the certification of Sledd's 56-1/2-pound tilefish. The International Game Fish Association All-Tackle record for golden tilefish (Lopholatilus chamaelonticeps) is 59 pounds, 3 ounces and was set in May 2007 off the Maryland coast.
For more information, contact Lewis S. Gillingham, Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, 968 S. Oriole Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, (757) 491-5160, firstname.lastname@example.org.