Finally, Windham said they consulted the Florida fishing regulations booklet with its pictures of saltwater fish before positively identifying it as a cubera snapper. They never knew such a fish existed.

The booklet lists Florida state records, so they knew the fish wasn't a state record there, but Shook decided the huge fish had to be weighed quickly before it lost too much weight just in case it was a record.

"We were so excited about the fish, I left my $100 buoy out there," Shook said.

Racing back to Pensacola, they loaded the boat on the trailer and headed for Zeke's Marina, arriving just as the sun was setting and the scales were closing.

"People just couldn't believe that it was a snapper and it was that big," Shook said. "Most of the people I've talked to said it's the biggest fish they've ever seen."


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