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State Record Golden Tilefish Caught

October 18, 2005


The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife reports that a new state record golden tilefish was taken from Washington Canyon on July 12. Gary Caputi of Brick caught the 55-pound golden tilefish weighing more than 3 pounds 14 ounces more than the previous record taken from Wilmington Canyon in 2003.

Caputi was bottom fishing from the charter boat Ugly Mug out of Cape May. Seas were calm and flat when he caught the record tilefish on 80-pound test line using a cut mackerel strip for bait. The fish measured 43¾ inches in length with a 32-inch girth.

Interestingly, Caputi’s fishing buddy on that trip was none other than the previous state golden tilefish record holder who had a chance to see his own record beaten!

The fish was also certified as a world record, weighing three pounds more than the previous record in that class. Unfortunately, world record fame did not last long, as a larger specimen was caught about a week later off Montauk, New York.

Mr. Caputi is no stranger to saltwater fishing. He is the offshore editor for the SaltWater Sportsman magazine and was the Governor’s appointee to the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council for seven years.

Tilefish inhabit the outer continental shelf waters of the Atlantic Ocean along much of North America and parts of South America. They are a colorful species with a blue or olive-green back and yellow or rose-colored lower sides and belly. The back, sides, and dorsal fin are covered with yellow spots. They are a slow-growing and long-lived fish with females living up to 35 years of age and males up to 26 years.

Tilefish are found at depths from 240 to 400 feet. Unlike most deep-water species that typically congregate over reefs, tilefish show an affinity for sandy bottoms where they sit in small indentations or burrows in the ocean floor. During the day they will usually feed and stay near their primary burrow feeding on an assortment of crustaceans.

The Record Fish Program honors the largest species of fish caught in the state. It revolves around a specific list of eligible freshwater and saltwater species, and is based on weight alone (there are no line classes). Scale certification documentation and a weighmaster’s signature are necessary. Other rules apply.

For more information or to request an application, call 609-633-7768 or visit the Record Fish Program page at

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: October 18, 2005