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State Records for Golden Tilefish and Cutlass Fish Broken

According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife, new state records for golden tilefish and cutlass fish were recently broken. A 51 pound, 2 ounce golden tilefish was taken from the Wilmington Canyon on April 14 by Paul Brady of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania and a 4 pound, 8 ounce cutlass fish was caught off the Cape May Reef on September 23, 2002 by George Algard of Wildwood.

Brady's fish weighed 30 pounds, 2 ounces more than the previous record taken from the Hudson Canyon last year. He was bottom fishing from a boat when he caught the tilefish on 30-pound test line using cut bait. The fish measured 46 inches in length with a 32-inch girth.

Algard's catch weighed 5 ounces more than the previous record taken off Delaware Reef #11 on September 21, 2002. He was bottom fishing for fluke from a boat when he caught the fish on 30-pound test line using squid for bait. The fish measured 55 inches in length.

Tilefish are a deep water species found at depths from 240 to 400 feet. Unlike most deep water species that 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 and will eat an assortment of crustaceans. They inhabit the outer continental shelf waters of the Atlantic along much of North America and in parts of South America. Tilefish are colorful fish with blue or olive green backs 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 species with females living up to 35 years of age and males up to 26 years.

Cutlass fish are found throughout tropical and temperate waters worldwide, most often over muddy bottoms of shallow coastal waters in depths from 0 to 400 meters. Adults feed mainly on fishes and occasionally on squids and crustaceans. The body is extremely elongated, almost eel-like, tapering to a point. The mouth is large. The dorsal fin is relatively high; the anal fin is reduced to tiny spines; pelvic (hind) and caudal (tail) fins are absent. Fresh specimens appear steely blue with silvery reflections.

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.

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