Biggest Georgia Pompano in 40 Years!

The 1-pound, 7.68-ounce fish is the Georgia record for pompano as it’s the largest such fish taken in the state.
Cathy Sanders holding pompano
Cathy Sanders with her record, surf-caught pompano. Courtesy Cathy Sanders

Georgia’s coastal Brunswick DNR office reports that the agency has certified a whopper of a Florida pompano (Trachinotus carolinus) caught Oct. 9 on a St. Simons Island beach in southeast Georgia.

Cathy Sanders, visiting from Palm Coast, Fla., landed the 1-pound, 7.68-ounce Florida pompano while surf fishing on St. Simons Island.

Her catch effectively ties the 40-year old previous record pompano holder, Laura Cheek, who landed a 1-pound, 7-ounce Florida Pompano on nearby Sea Island in 1982.

Sanders’ hefty Florida Pompano was 12 inches long, measured from the fork of the tail to the fish’s nose.

DNR reports that Sanders was volunteering with the “Kids Can Fish Foundation’s Running of the Bulls” youth tournament when she caught the pompano. She was surf fishing using “Fishbites EZ Crab” in “Electric Chicken” with 20-pound test high visibility monofilament.

Her terminal surf fishing rig was a double drop set-up with a pair of 2/0 circle hooks and a 3-ounce “Sputnik” sinker.

DNR says Sanders is the first recipient of a newly designed state record certificate, which features an image of the record-setting species, a gold-color embossed state seal, and signatures from the governor, commissioner of DNR, and director of DNR’s Coastal Resources Division, which administers the Georgia Saltwater Game Fish Records Program.

Under the rules of the Georgia Saltwater Game Fish Records Program, DNR explains that Sanders’ catch qualified as a tie because it weighed more than the current 40-year old record, but did not exceed the record by more than 4 ounces.

Sanders’ name has been added to the list of current and past state fish record holders and will be listed in the 2023 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulation Guide.

The Georgia coastal region where both pompano records were caught is called the “Golden Isles” because of its pristine and vast spartina grass marshes that line the many coastal rivers and tidewaters of the area.

Pompano can grow large, particularly in Florida waters where they are more common. The IGFA All-Tackle record for Florida pompano is a huge 8-pound, 4-ounce giant, caught in Oct. 1999 at Port St. Joe on the Gulf in Florida’s Panhandle by angler Barry Huston.