Could this massive fish be the next all-tackle length world record for spotted seatrout? According to Florida Today, Luke Ledbetter pulled in this giant from Florida’s Indian River on June 1. Ledbetter’s guide, Captain Peter Deeks of Native Sons Fishing Guides, called it the largest seatrout of his career.
“The largest trout I’ve ever weighed was a 33-inch trout that was 13.9 pounds, but this one was even fatter,” Deeks said. “But I hate weighing them, hate hanging them by the jaw. They’re really sensitive fish.”
The anglers estimated its weight at roughly 14 pounds, but it is the length of the fish that is truly impressive. Ledbetter’s seatrout measured 34.25 inches, or 87 centimeters, making it about 10 centimeters longer that the current length-record held by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA). As it so happens, the record-keeping agency was the first call Deeks made after netting the seatrout.
“When she breeched the surface of the water, I realized it was a massive speckled trout,” Ledbetter wrote on Facebook. “During the intense fight, the fish made two long runs. We all held our breath as the monster was finally netted. Peter said he thought it would be a record. He then measured, photographed, and documented the dimensions. Following release of the fish, he immediately called IGFA to record my catch. It didn’t register in my mind that I had personally caught a possible record fish until that call was made.”
IGFA is now considering Ledbetter’s fish, which the organization described as “impressive,” for the record.
“When spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) reach the size of the one Luke Ledbetter pulled from Florida’s Indian River on June 1st, they earn the nickname of ‘gator trout,'” IGFA stated on its website. “Ledbetter was fishing with Capt. Peter Deeks near the town of Melbourne, FL when the massive trout crushed the live mullet he was using for bait. After a dogged fight on light spinning gear, Ledbetter had the fish subdued. The fish measured out to an impressive 87 cm (34.25 in) and was released alive—qualifying Ledbetter for the All-Tackle Length world record. The current IGFA record stands at 79 cm.”