|New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife|
December 7, 2000
According to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, the state record for Northern stargazer was broken with a 13-pound entry caught off Cape May on November 10. The fish weighed 2 pounds, 4 ounces more than the previous record taken off Cape May in 1998.
Jim Ludt of Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania caught the fish, which measured 24 inches long with an 18-inch girth. Ludt was drift fishing with eels on the charter boat Skirt Chaser captained by Frank Hutchko. He used a fiberglass rod and a spinning reel with 15-pound test line.
The Northern stargazer is a saltwater species ranging from New York to North Carolina. It is characterized by a blackish-brown body and head covered with white spots. Measuring approximately 12 inches long, stargazers have a short, spiny front dorsal fin, large upturned mouth, eyes located on top of the head and three dark, horizontal stripes on the tail. They are similar to fluke and flounder preferring to burrow in sandy-bottom areas. Stargazers feed primarily on small crustaceans and fishes. They are capable of creating weak electrical currents from a specialized organ behind the eyes and should be handled with care.
The Division maintains records of the largest fish caught in New Jersey through its State Record Fish Program. Saltwater and freshwater species most commonly found in New Jersey waters are recognized. For a current list of record fish or a program application, visit the Division's website at www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw or send a self-addressed, stamped, business-sized envelope to the: New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, P.O. Box 400, Trenton, NJ 08625-0400, Attn: Record Fish Program.