11-pound, 3-ounce speckled trout came from Pungo Creek
Cathy Jones of Belhaven, NC won’t set the NC state record for speckled trout with her 11-pound, 3-ounce speck, but she will set a new women’s world record with the 33.5-inch fish.
Jones was fishing from her family’s dock on Pungo Creek off the Pamlico Sound on Nov. 20 when she hooked the gator trout. Her net fell off the dock, so after a lengthy fight, she was forced to grab the fish by its gill plate.
Jones was using a juvenile menhaden for bait. She saw the bait swirl on the surface, then heard a popping sound as the big fish grabbed the bait. Using an Ugly Stik rod with a Daiwa spinning reel filled with 20-pound test line, she fought the fish for about 15 minutes before finally landing it.
After getting the fish on the dock, Jones texted her husband, who came and carried the big fish down their 450-foot dock. She had the fish weighed in Washington, NC at Eastside Bait and Tackle.
North Carolina’s state record speckled trout, caught by Todd Spangler earlier this year, is a 12-pound, 8-ounce fish. Because NC does not keep female-specific state records, it’s not eligible for a record in the Old North State.
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA), however, does have women’s divisions. The current women’s world record, caught on 20-pound test line, weighed 10 pounds, 9 ounces. It was caught by Jackie Patton from Florida’s Banana River on July 12, 1979. The fish Jones caught beats that by about 2 pounds.