Queen Triggerfish Added To Georgia Record Books

CRD Press Release | April 10, 2024

Ryan Simons, of Richmond Hill, holds the distinction as the first-ever Georgia record holder for a queen triggerfish, a new species added to the state’s saltwater records. Ryan set the mark to beat at 7-lbs., 0.58-ozs.

A Richmond Hill man has set a new Georgia state record category for a queen triggerfish (Balistes vetula), weighing in at 7-lbs., 0.58-ozs.

The fish is a new species in the Georgia Saltwater Game Fish Program and no prior record existed. The records program committee, made of Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff and biologists, approved the addition of the species Tuesday, April 9.

The angler, Ryan R. Simons, 38, caught the record-setting fish Sunday, April 7, offshore at an area commonly known as the South Ledge. He was bottom fishing with a Shimano jigging rod with Shimano Speedmaster reel spooled with 65-lb. braided line and dead ballyhoo as bait. Simons caught the fish aboard the vessel “Sweet Melissa” with Capt. Henry Williamson.

It was weighed in accordance with the rules of the Georgia Saltwater Game Fish Records Program at the DNR Richmond Hill Fish Hatchery on a scale certified by the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The fish was 30.75 inches total length, 19.5 inches fork length, and 17 inches in girth.

Georgia DNR congratulates Simons on his remarkable catch. His achievement will be recognized with a certificate signed by Governor Brian Kemp, DNR Commissioner Walter Rabon, and Doug Haymans, director of DNR’s Coastal Resources Division. Simons’ name will also be featured in the next Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations Guide and online at

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. Tools like descending devices can help reduce barotrauma in deep-water fishes and improve their chance of survival after being released. For information on descending devices and other best fishing practices, visit the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s webpage at

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

Triggerfish Info

Worldwide, there are more than 40 species of triggerfish identified and recognized. Triggerfish have an oval-shaped, highly compressed body. The head is large, terminating in a small but strong-jawed mouth with teeth adapted for crushing shells. The eyes are small, set far back from the mouth, at the top of the head. In addition to the newly created record category for queen triggerfish, Georgia also recognizes a state record category for gray triggerfish. The largest recorded gray triggerfish from Georgia waters weighed 11-lbs., 5-ozs. and was caught by Elizabeth Zeagler in 1987.

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