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Nov. 10, 2003


The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife has certified a new state record northern kingfish that was taken from the surf on the beach in Margate, Atlantic County. Art Higbee of Northfield caught the 2 pound, 6 ounce, northern kingfish on Oct. 25. It weighed 3 ounces more than the previous record taken from Barnegat Bay in 1993.

Higbee was bottom fishing with a bloodworm when he caught the record kingfish on 20-pound test line off the beach near Washington Avenue. The fish measured 18¼ inches in length with an 11-inch girth.

A member of the drum family, the northern kingfish can be identified by the long spine on its first dorsal fin and barbels on its snout used to find food in the sand. On fresh specimens, coloring on the back and sides is gray and sometimes blackish above with five or six narrow bars. Found throughout the coastal waters of Maine to south Florida, the northern kingfish is mainly an inshore species occurring from the tideline to depths of 30 feet in salt and brackish water. Schools of northern kingfish frequent sand, shell or gravel bottoms, especially near inlets, sand bars or along the edges of channels where they feed on worms, crabs and shrimp. Individuals can reach up to 3¼ pounds, but anything over 2 pounds is unusual.

The Record Fish Program honors the largest species of fish caught in the state. It revolves around a specific list of eligible freshwater and saltwater species, and is based on weight alone; there are no line classes. Scale certification documentation, specifically the Certificate of Inspection/Test Report and Registration Certificate issued by the New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures as well as a weighmaster’s signature are necessary. Other rules apply.

For more information or to request an application, call (609) 633-7768. Visit the Division’s website at for a complete list of state record fish.

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