There’s a new way anglers can catch a state record fish in Florida.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has opened a new category for a saltwater fish: kingfish.
Catches that qualify for the category state record include fish in the Menticirrhus family. Other names for the fish include whiting, southern kingfish, southern kingcroaker, king whiting, Carolina whiting and sea mullet.
While the species is open for a saltwater state record, anglers shouldn’t have visions of massive fish. Kingfish aren’t big, averaging about a foot long.
A 15-inch kingfish is a large catch. Still, it’s cool to have a record under your belt.
And you don’t have to go miles offshore to catch them. The fish are found in shallow water, and anglers often catch them while surf fishing. Popular bait includes pieces of shrimp, sand fleas and clams.
FWC says that kingfish caught after June 30 this year are eligible for state record submission.
The commission, in collaboration with the International Game Fish Association, maintains state all-tackle records for the heaviest fish caught in Florida waters, including 77 species in both conventional tackle and fly-fishing categories.