September 23, 2002
According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife, a new state record golden tilefish was taken off Brielle in the Hudson Canyon on September 6. Gregory Figueroa of Point Pleasant caught a 21-pound golden tilefish that is the first in a brand new record category.
Figueroa was bottom fishing from a boat when he caught the record tilefish on 65-pound test line using a squid strip for bait. The fish measured 37 inches in length with a 21-inch girth.
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.
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. Visit the Division's website at www.njfishandwildlife.com for a complete list of state record fish.