Jason Mote of Foley’s pompano beats record by 1.6 oz
By David Thornton
While most fishermen are practical enough to realize it is highly unlikely they will ever catch a record fish, anyone and everyone is entitled to land their personal best (“PB”) fish of any species. Angling records are quite the hoo-ha for fishermen, but personal accomplishments can mean much more than even having one’s name in a book.
Sunday April 18th, Jason Mote of Foley was enjoying a rather quiet afternoon fishing on the beaches of south Baldwin County when a tug on his line around 3:30 p.m. signaled another bite. His thoughts of it being just another pompano dinner were quickly derailed when this large specimen slid up on the sandy shoreline.
He quickly snapped some pictures to send to some fishing buddies, like Jim Foster, who encouraged him to have it weighed as soon as possible because it was so huge. Since Jason was entered in the ‘Pomp Stomp’ pompano fishing contest, he headed to Sam’s in Orange Beach to have the fish weighed.
His arrival there caused quite a stir for veteran surf guides Chris Vecsey and Dusty Hayes, who quickly realized they were not only weighing a likely winner for the contest, but a potential Alabama state record fish as well. Their scale read 6.940 pounds (or 6 pounds 15 ounces).
The current Alabama record for Florida Pompano is 6 pounds 13 ounces (or 6.812 pounds) caught by Patricia Cluck from the Gulf State Park Pier April 28, 2010.
According to the rules for weighing a record fish in Alabama, two ounces would be the minimum to replace a current record weighing less than 25 pounds. But the problem was the scale at Sam’s had not been certified in accordance with the rules. And it was too late on this Sunday afternoon to locate another certified scale to weigh Jason’s pompano. He had no recourse, but to pack the fish in ice overnight, and hope it didn’t loose too much weight. Of course, it is a well known fact that fish on ice do indeed loose some weight over time. The question was how much would this one lose?
On Monday, Jason took his pompano to the office of Alabama Marine Resources in Gulf Shores, where the weight was officially verified on a certified scale as 6 pounds 14.6 ounces. So, even though his pompano weighed more than the existing record (by 1.6 ounces), according to the rules it can only be considered a tie, not to replace the existing record. Everyone involved was understandably disappointed for Jason. But he hasn’t let that technicality dampen the merit of his personal angling accomplishment.
Accolades have poured in, and this humble young man (pictured right) has been ‘wowed’ by all the attention. Of course he will almost certainly win some nice cash and prizes from the Pomp Stomp tournament which ends on May 8. So at least that will be compensated for not being noted in the record book. Congratulations to Jason Mote on the catch of a lifetime! And good luck to all anglers in pursuit of theirs.
According to outdooralabama.com, to replace a record for a fish weighing less than 25 pounds, the replacement must weigh at least 2 ounces more than the existing record. To replace a record for a fish weighing 25 pounds or more, the replacement fish must weigh at least one-half of 1 percent more than the existing record.
Any fish, which matches the weight of an existing record or exceeds the weight by less than the amount required to defeat the record would be considered a tie.