Woman in Oregon reels in record-breaking fish: ‘Very strong’

An amateur fisherwoman may have unexpectedly broken a world record while angling for rockfish in Oregon on April Fool’s Day.

Tillamook, Oregon, resident Rebecca Jones began her Monday morning by digging for sand shrimp, according to an April 5 news release from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. She told officials that she began fishing and hunting a few years ago, and described herself as self-taught.

“[She] then headed to Barview Jetty near Garibaldi hoping to catch rockfish for dinner,” state officials explained. 

“Instead, she hauled in an eel-like fish she’d never seen before, the monkeyface prickleback.”

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Tillamook, Oregon, resident Rebecca Jones caught a record-breaking monkeyface prickleback last week. (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)

The strange-looking monkeyface pricklebacks are sometimes called “monkeyface eels”, but they are not technically true eels. They live in rocky, tidal areas and can survive out of water for nearly a day and a half.

According to the International Game Fish Association’s website, the largest monkeyface prickleback was caught in Newport, Oregon in June 2008. It weighed around 3 pounds and 4 ounces.

Jones’ catch weighed 4.8 pounds, meaning that she potentially broke the world record. She petitioned the organization to see if the fish meets the mark.

“I’m relatively new to fishing and was losing bait off my line, but I kept at it,” she explained to state officials. “Within an hour of fishing, I felt another hit. It wasn’t a hard fight, the fish came right up.”

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Fish sitting on scale

Jones’ monkeyface prickleback weighed 4.8 pounds, meaning that she potentially broke the world record.  (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)

“But it was a very strong fish though, I had to sit on it to get the hook out.”

Jones told state officials that she watches hunting and fishing videos to teach herself valuable skills. She also gets information from books, magazines and even Oregon fishing and hunting regulations – and largely hunts and fishes in solitude. 

“She’s been hunting deer, elk, and bear for three years,” Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife described in the press release. “This year, she’s trying her skills at spring turkey season.”

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Woman smiling and holding fish

Rebecca Jones taught herself everything she knows by watching videos and reading books about hunting and fishing. (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)

“Living in Tillamook, Jones takes advantage of trout fishing and ocean fishing, landing ocean salmon, rockfish, and Dungeness crab.”

The impressive fisherwoman says that she wants to teach other women to “pass [these skills] on to the next generation.”

“I’m passionate about fishing, hunting, crabbing, and clamming,” she said. “And encouraging women to have and use these skills to pass on to the next generation.”

Jones holding measuring tape next to fish

Jones showed interest in teaching women to “pass [these skills] on to the next generation.” (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)

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“Taking advantage of the opportunities Oregon offers gives you self-confidence and self-efficiency,” Jones added.

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