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Each year the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association Fish Records Committee selects anglers from the submitted records from the previous year to be nominated for the Fish of the Year. Nominees are then closely reviewed and a vote is taken. The Fish Records Chairman then announces the winner to the Executive Director and membership. Awards are presented in both Rod & Reel and Fly Fishing although in some years, as is the case this year, only one award was presented, as no eligible or outstanding catches were made in the Fly Fishing Division for the year 2008.

LOWA is pleased to announce the winner of their annual Fish of the Year award for 2008 is William “Ricky” Ruffin of Bay Springs, MS. He was chosen for the Fish of the Year award due to his catch of a 30.60 lb Marbled Grouper (Epinephelus inermis) in February of 2008. Not only was this catch a new state first place record, but is also potentially a new International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world record.  Mr. Ruffin was presented with his award at the LOWA annual convention awards banquet, Oct. 17, 2009 in Lake Charles at the Best Western Richmond Suites.

The Marbled Grouper was added to the LOWA list of eligible fish records species in 2002. Only five of the ten available listings are filled with the fourth place, Joe Castello’s 14.50 lb catch also an IGFA World Record.

According to fisheries biologists it is somewhat rare to catch Marbled Grouper in the 20-plus pound range, although in the last few years larger fish are showing up as anglers now target the species