October 6, 2006
Austin Texas — A 25-year-old Deer Park man set the pending
Texas state record for tarpon when he landed a 210-pound, 11-ounce
fish off the Galveston Fishing Pier Wed.
Jeremy Ebert was fishing for “bull reds” when something different –
and obviously bigger – picked up his bait.
“We hooked the fish at about 8:30,” Ebert said. “It made one big
jump and then smoked off about 300 yards of line real quick. I got a
good look about 30 minutes later, and I knew he was big.”
Ebert fought the fish for about 45 minutes, and lifted it from the
water with the help of a massive net and more than half-a-dozen
“I grew up on that pier. I’ve fished it a lot,” he said. “I saw my
dad catch a tarpon off that pier when I was about 11 years old and
it hooked me for the rest of my life.”
A self-proclaimed “tarpon junkie,” the record-breaking fish was
Ebert’s fifth “Silver King” of the year and only the latest of about
two dozen he’s landed in his fishing career.
A change in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s fishing
regulations last year dispensed with the $120 trophy tarpon tag and
made it legal for an angler to keep one tarpon over 80 inches. The
80-inch minimum length was settled-on as the threshold for a fish
that might beat the longstanding state record of 210 pounds.
That fish, an 86.25-inch tarpon, was caught in November of 1973 by
“I’ve never killed one, I’ve always taken care of them,” Ebert said
of his decision to keep the fish and have it weighed. “We got this
fish to the pier and it pretty much rolled-over dead. I wouldn’t
have brought one up just to take pictures. If there was a chance of
reviving him, even if he was that size, I probably would have let
Capt. James Plaag of Silver King Adventures has been chasing Gulf
coast tarpon for years, and said 2006 has provided as good a tarpon
season as any he’s seen.
“This year’s been like old times,” Plaag said. “Our tarpon fishery
this year was outstanding. There’s been some big days.”
On one of those days this year, Plaag said, he went 10 for 21 at the
mouth of the Brazos River. Translation: he and his clients landed
nearly half of the tarpon they jumped. The biggest fish that day was
estimated at about 140 pounds.
“You can’t target the big ones,” he noted. “You just hope he gets on
Plaag said that, as much as he would have liked to have set the new
record himself, he was happy to see his friend Ebert do it.
“I was proud of Jeremy. He fishes a lot – he deserved it,” Plaag
said. “The average guy, if he hooked that fish, he ain’t gonna catch
it. Records are made to be broke, and it just gives me something
else to fish for.”
“This is a shocker here. If there’s one state record I want, this is
it,” Ebert said. “All my friends drove down in the middle of the
night to see it. It was definitely the best fish I’ve caught.”
Ebert donated the fish to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
TPWD biologists have taken DNA samples and also will age and sex the
fish before it is displayed on an “ice table” at the annual TPWD
Expo in Austin Oct. 7-8.
Check out the other
Texas Saltwater Fishing Records
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