Jeff Bleything of Edmond caught a 31.7-pound escolar last month that is the new Texas state salt water record and a Gulf of Mexico body of water record.
Bleything caught the strange fish aboard the Scat Cat out of Fishermans’ Wharf in Port Aransas on a 56-hour tuna trip that left the docks on Oct. 23.
The fish broke the old Texas escolar record that was established just the previous weekend, a 17-pounder, also aboard the Scat Cat.
Bleything said the fishing guides aboard the Scat Cat were excited about the record escolar because it is such a rare fish to catch.
“They thought it was big-time stuff,” he said.
Escolars are an open water fish found Gulf-wide, but never shallower than 250-feet deep. They usually stay at depths of 700 feet, which is the depth at which Bleything caught his record fish on a Diamond Jig.
The escolar is uniformly dark brown in color, becoming almost black with age. The teeth are sharp and curved and the eye is large and golden-colored, with a black iris.
This unusual fish is almost never seen by recreational fishermen because of its preference for great depths at long distances from shore. It is often captured by commercial tuna fishermen. The escolar is a strong predator fish that eats other fishes, squids and crustaceans.
Bleything donated the fish to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for research. Bleything, who owns Phoenix Restoration Services, describes himself as a fishing fanatic.
In addition to his frequent saltwater trips, he likes to fish for hybrids and walleyes at Lake Hefner. The trophy fish he has landed at Hefner include a 20-pound hybrid and 12-pound, 1 ounce walleye.