The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that a new state record has been set for the heaviest vermilion snapper (Rhomboplites aururubens) caught by a woman angler. The record-setting fish was caught by Stacey T. Pope of Brunswick on April 7, and weighed 5 pounds, 5.56 ounces, breaking the previous record of 3 pounds, 14.4 ounces set in 2018 by Alli DeYoung of Savannah.
Pope caught the vermilion snapper while fishing offshore near Artificial Reef DW approximately 70 miles east of Sapelo Island. She was bottom fishing with a 7-foot Eureka Charter Special rod and Avet SX G2 reel terminating with a knocker rig baited with menhaden. She was accompanied by licensed charter guide Capt. Quentin Van Heerden of Eureka Charters. Her catch was weighed on a certified scale at City Market on Gloucester Street in Brunswick.
According to Pope, she was surprised to catch such a large fish and was thrilled when she learned that she had set a new state record.
“It was amazing to catch the fish,” said Pope. “It was a little scary, but it was exciting. We just bought a boat in December, and this was only our third time offshore fishing. It’s a lot of fun, I love it.”
DNR’s Coastal Resources Division (CRD), which oversees the Georgia Saltwater Game Fish Records Program, congratulated Pope on her achievement and provided her with a state record certificate signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, DNR Commissioner Mark Williams, and CRD Director Doug Haymans. Pope’s name will be eligible to appear in the 2024 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations Guide and has been added to the state saltwater records list online at CoastalGaDNR.org/SaltwaterRecords.
DNR reminds all anglers to follow best practices for ethical and responsible fishing, including proper handling and release of fish that are not intended for consumption.
The new state record for vermilion snapper is a testament to the fishing in Georgia and the skills of the state’s anglers. DNR encourages all anglers to continue practicing safe and responsible fishing and to report any potential record-setting catches to the DNR for verification.
Anglers in Georgia are required to have a valid recreational fishing license, free Saltwater Information Program permit, and to follow size and possession limits for various species. State saltwater record rules and regulations can be found at CoastalGaDNR.org/SaltwaterRecords.
For more information about fishing regulations in Georgia, please visit CoastalGaDNR.org.