A Wake Forest fishermen has caught a potential state-record jack crevalle out of Wrightsville Beach. Frank Dalli was fishing with his son, Luke, and Capt. Mike Jackson of Live Line Charters when he caught the big fish on April 2 – and another that was within a pound of a state record.
The jack crevalle weighed 49.1 pounds on the certified scales. Dalli has completed an application for a state record and has submitted it and several photos to the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, where it was preliminarily accepted and is awaiting final approval. Dalli’s with will eclipse Kenneth McArthur’s 25-year-old record by 2.1 pounds. McArthur’s fish, which weighed 47 pounds, was caught off Cape Hatteras in 1989.
Dalli’s jack crevalle was 49½ inches long and 30 inches in girth. He was jigging the 7-ounce, gold Stingo Jig on a Shimano Trevala 6-foot jigging rod, using a Penn 7500 Spinfisher reel and 65-pound braided line.
The action began early on this fishing trip as Dalli hooked the record fish on his first drop of the day at a ledge in approximately 150 feet of water, where they had previously caught amberjack, African pompano and cobia.
Both Dallis has strikes almost immediately, with the elder Dalli’s fish running out hard to the side of the ledge, rather than down, burning line off his reel. Jackson speculated the fish might be a big cobia.
Dalli had recovered about half of the line when the fish made another strong run out to the side. After about 20 minutes, Jackson spotted a large, silver shape circling deep below the boat and wondered if it might be a huge African pompano.
A few minutes later he worked the fish to within 20 feet of the surface, and Jackson got a good-enough look to identify it as a jack crevalle. The fish finally gave out of fight, and Jackson hoisted it aboard.
“Capt. Mike told me he wanted to weigh it before releasing it,” Dalli said. “He said he had caught jack crevalle this long before, but none had been this fat, and he wanted to see what it weighed. I was fine with that, as I needed a minute’s rest and to catch my breath. I had been fighting the fish long enough that my son had caught three amberjack.
“Capt. Mike said it weighed almost 50 pounds on his digital scales,” Dalli said. “He said he thought it could be a state record, as his scales were usually pretty close to the certified scales at the weigh station. We would have released it otherwise, but knowing this we decided to keep it.”
The near record was a 40-pound African pompano Dalli caught later in the day, and they had another of the large pompano taken by sharks right at boatside. Dalli said they caught more than 50 amberjack, plus the African Pompano, a 40-pound wahoo and a couple of pretty gag grouper.