After an exciting 30 minutes of reeling in a huge fish of the sea, James Roberts held the new Georgia state record in his hands: a 68-pound, 1.6-ounce dolphin.
“It exhausted me. I couldn’t breathe… It was a blast,” told Roberts, the 53-year-old from Midway, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Resources.
Roberts caught the fish on April 26 while aboard Captain Michael Bell’s boat, Salty Intentions, according to a DNR press release. The statement said he was about 80 miles east of St. Catherine’s Island when he hit the dolphin fish.
Dolphinfish, also known as mahi-mahi, can weigh up to 80 pounds but typically weigh around 30 pounds, according to DNR. The fish is found from Massachusetts to Florida and is famous for its vibrant color and flavour. Despite its name, a dolphin is not a type of dolphin, according to the National Oceanic Service.
Before Roberts rolled at Mahi Mahi, the record was a tie between two anglers. Savannah-based Michael Shepard caught a 67lb 6oz mahi mahi in 1997 and St Simon’s Island resident Will Owens fished a 67lb 9.6oz mahi mahi in 2019.
According to Georgia state standard guidelines, a fish weighing more than 20 pounds must weigh 8 ounces more than the previous record to break.
After Roberts returned to shore with Mahi Mahi, officials weighed the fish on a state-approved scale and approved it as the new state record.
“(It was) the best time of my life,” Roberts said. “I’ve hardly been able to sleep since then.”
Roberts will receive certified certification from Governor Brian Kemp and his record will be included in the annual list published in Georgia’s Handbook of Saltwater Regulations, according to the DNR.
“This achievement recognizes not only the size of the catch, but also Mr. Roberts’ skill as a fisherman and the sportsmanship he demonstrated in landing record-setting game fish,” said Doug Hymans, Director of Coastal Resources at DNR.
Roberts has been fishing overseas for about 20 years, he told DNR.