Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

LOTS OF WORK, LOTS OF FISH Record or Not, It's Gone Redfish Tipped Scale at 63 Pounds

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

LOTS OF WORK, LOTS OF FISH Record or Not, It's Gone Redfish Tipped Scale at 63 Pounds

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Julavits, Times-Union outdoors editor

Jacksonville's Mickey Fischer recently caught what may have been a state-record redfish in the St. Johns River, but all he has to show for it is a whopping set of measurements and a 4x6 photograph.

Fischer, a regular on the local bass tournament circuit, and friend Jim Baron were targeting flounder June 28 in the Shell Harbor area of the river near Heckscher Drive. At around 9:25 a.m., Fischer pitched a finger mullet bait under a dock, and something ate it.

"He came out from the pilings, and I never saw him until an hour and a half later," Fischer said.

The monster red dragged Fischer's 14-foot aluminum jonboat all over the St. Johns -- a total of about 3 miles, according to Fischer's GPS distance readings.

"He took us down to the Dames Point bridge, then turned around and went back out toward the ocean when the tide changed," Fischer said. "I've got a 36-volt trolling motor, and I just rode that.

"It was so much dead weight, I thought it was a big sting ray."

Toward the end of the fight, the red lunged toward the Clapboard Creek bridge. Fischer knew that he'd get cut off on a piling if the fish made it to the bridge, so he began applying as much pressure as possible to turn him.

Using a relatively light baitcasting outfit, with 12-pound test line and a 20-pound test leader. Fischer gradually worked the tired fish to the boat. The fight had lasted an hour and a half.

"I'm 5-5, and he was as big as I am," Fischer said.

Measured at the boat, the giant red was 53 1/2 inches long and had a girth of 39 inches. It sported 37 spots on one side, 28 on the other. Fischer didn't have an adequate scale on board, so he hailed a passing shrimp boat.

Placed on the shrimper's scale, the redfish weighed 63 pounds, 2 ounces. The Florida record is 52 pounds, 5 ounces, caught in Cocoa in 1996. Although Fischer was aware that the world record was over 90 pounds -- specifically, 94 pounds, 2 ounces, caught in North Carolina in 1984 -- he didn't know at the time what the state record was.

"I figured it was probably 80 here in Florida," he said. …

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