The longest existing state record in the Alabama fishing ranks has been broken. Fortunately, it has switched from one Mobile County angler to another.
A news release from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) announced the 127-pound, 12-ounce amberjack that reigned atop the Alabama charts for 38 years was established prior to the birth of Citronelle’s Brian Andrews.
The previous record was held by Marcus Kennedy of Mobile, who caught his massive amberjack on June 19, 1981. Andrews’ name was placed atop the charts Aug. 23 when the record certification process was completed for his 132-pound, 12.8-ounce fish.
Andrews landed his amberjack aboard Capt. Bobby Walker’s Summer Breeze II the day after the amberjack season in the Gulf of Mexico started back on Aug. 1. Walker, who told ADCNR he has been fishing the Gulf as a captain or deckhand for 50 years, went to a special amberjack spot where he had found success in the past.
“I couldn’t have had a better angler,” Walker said of 37-year-old Andrews. “I couldn’t have drawn it up any better. He was a big, strong, strapping guy. You talk about a guy working on a fish, he could do it.”
This was certainly not the first outing for Andrews. He has previously owned his own private Gulf boat, and once had reeled in a 70-pound amberjack. But he knew something was different this time.
“I was trying to be positive, but several people were telling me it was a shark,” Andrews told ADCNR. “He was pulling like a shark, but you never know. He made at least three big runs. It took at least 30 minutes to get him in. When he makes a run, all you can do is hold the rod and watch him go. When he starts peeling drag, you just hold on. When he stops peeling drag, you have to start taking some of the line back.”
After Andrews finally got the amberjack to the surface, the deckhands struggled to get it aboard the Summer Breeze II.
“When that fish hit the deck, his mouth flopped open and I said he looked like he could swallow a basketball,” Walker said. “His head was huge. I told them I’d lay money that the fish was at least 100 [pounds]. I didn’t think any more about it.”
After the day of fishing was complete, the Summer Breeze II returned to Zeke’s Marina in Orange Beach. While Walker was preparing his boat for its next outing, he noticed commotion on the dock.
“Then I heard people hollering and raising Cain and wondered what was going on,” he said. “They had hauled the fish up on the scales. When I saw it, I said, ‘whoa.’ Tom Ard [another fishing captain based at Zeke’s] looked at me and said, ‘Bobby, you’ve got a state record.’”
The big fish measured 65 inches from the tip of its snout to the fork of its tail and sported a 40-inch girth.
Kennedy was 17 years old when he set his amberjack mark. He also once held the Alabama blue marlin record for 26 years before it was broken in 2013.
Now he leaves the competitive fishing to the next generation. His 28-year-old son, Tyler, holds three state records for other saltwater species (pompano dolphinfish, yellowedge grouper and snowy grouper).
“If I catch a record fish, it’s going to be something smaller,” Kennedy said. “It’s not going to be an amberjack or blue marlin. I’ll leave that up to Tyler and Ryan [Kennedy, his 20-year-old nephew].”
Enfinger wins championship
Grant Enfinger can confirm consistency is the key to success. Although the Fairhope native never won a race in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, he collected enough points to claim the regular-season championship. His ThorSport Racing No. 98 Ford had 13 top 10 finishes in 16 races.
“It’s definitely huge. It’s a huge accomplishment,” Enfinger said after he sealed the title at the Corrigan Oil 200. “We haven’t won a race yet, but we did get this. It’s a big deal for the playoffs – 15 playoff points – but also something to hang our hat on that we got out of hard work, perseverance. We finished seventh today, but had a 27th-place truck yesterday. That’s how our year has been. It hasn’t always been pretty, but we’ve always made the most of it.”
This is the second racing title for Enfinger. He was also the 2015 ARCA Racing Series champion.
** University of South Alabama (USA) cross-country runners Andonet Cheruiyot and Warno Potgieter have been selected as one of the top seven runners in the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) in their respective divisions. The Jaguar men were predicted to finish fourth this fall, while the USA women were picked fifth.
Cheruiyot earned first-team all-SBC honors last fall after finishing in second with a 5-kilometer personal best time of 17:26.36, less than four seconds behind the winner. She followed that with another personal best in the 6-kilometer run with a time of 21:21.3 at the NCAA South Regional.
Potgieter, who earned all-league accolades for the second straight season last fall, led the Jaguar men each of the last three races. His sixth place finish at the conference meet netted him second-team all-SBC honors and his time of 25:06.13 at the championship event was the fastest 8-kilometer time during the 2018 season by a USA runner.
** Eight events highlight the fall slate for the USA men’s tennis team. The Jaguars open at the Thomasville (Georgia) Invitational (Sept. 13 – 15). Two weeks later the roster will split as most of the team will travel to Hattiesburg for the Southern Miss Invitational (Sept. 28 – 29).
That same weekend, Loic Cloes will compete at the ITA Oracle Master hosted by Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. The junior was selected to be the Sun Belt Conference representative.
Next are the Samford Round Robin (Oct. 5 – 6) in Birmingham and the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla. (Oct. 5 – 13). USA will attend the ITA Southern Regionals (Oct. 17 – 20) in Auburn, with a berth to the ITA Fall Nationals (in Newport Beach, Calif., Nov. 6 – 10) on the line. USA is also set to compete at the Birmingham Country Club Invitational (Nov. 2 – 3).
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