New Women’s Record King Mackerel

The 45-lb., 7-oz. kingfish was caught at the M2R6 Navy Tower 49 miles east of Blackbeard Island on May 21.

Savannah E'Dalgo | August 9, 2016

A new women’s record has been set and approved by the DNR’s Coastal Resource Division for king mackerel. The fish was caught 49 miles east of Blackbeard Island.

Jessica Pace, of Savannah, was fishing in a women’s fishing tournament on May 21 when she reeled in the record-breaking king mackerel weighing 45-lbs., 7-ozs.

“Honestly, I thought it was an amberjack or something. I thought it was a fish we would end up throwing back,” said Jessica.

Jessica was fishing on a private boat with Tommy Smoak as the captain, along with Page Smoak, Ryan Pace, Mitch Pennington and Jennifer Farmer.

They headed out to the M2R6 Navy Tower, and after catching bait, they trolled around the tower where they caught other king mackerel, along with red snapper that they ended up throwing back, said Ryan Pace, Jessica’s husband.

“R6 is one of eight structures built by the Navy in the 1980s,” said Spud Woodward, director of the Coastal Resource Division.

Spud also added that the eight structures typically range from 90 to 150 feet in depth, with R6 being more than 100 feet deep.

“The legs of the structure down below the water’s surface are colonized by all kinds of marine growth and corals, which in turn attracts other smaller fish, which in turn attracts predator fish,” said Spud.

The record-breaking kingfish was caught on a cigar minnow and took about 20 to 25 minutes to reel in.

Jessica describes the overall experience by saying, “You have to have patience, but once we got it close to the boat and realized what it was, it was quite exciting.”

Ryan was also very excited about the fish.

“At that moment, we knew we won the tournament, and joy filled the boat once we realized that this could be a record-breaking fish,” said Ryan.

The M2R6 Tower typically holds kingfish from spring to fall until the water gets below 60 degrees. At that point, the kingfish begin to migrate south.

With summer temperatures still in full swing, Spud said anglers can still go out and catch kingfish by trolling around offshore structures with some type of natural bait.

GON reported last month that a different lady recently broke a Georgia saltwater record for catching and recording the state’s first African pompano. That fish weighed 25.75 pounds, and the story appeared at Interestingly, the pompano and Jessica’s kingfish were both caught at the M2R6 Navy tower.

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