ST. BERNARD, LA (WAFB) - It was the end of a very long day on the water at the Hopedale Marina in St. Bernard Parish and the fish were not biting. Jessica was just about to pack it in for the day when she felt a tug on her line.
"Whether I catch a tadpole or a monster fish, I get really, really excited," she said. "But when I pulled this one, everyone knew it was a monster."
It was a 35 lb. redfish that was nearly as long as she is. Standing at only 5'0" tall, weighing only 115 pounds, Jessica used every bit of her remaining energy to pull in the catch of the day.
"I didn't want anyone to help me," she said. "I just told them to get the net and said someone film this because no one is going to believe this."
Jessica was out fishing that day with her husband and his father. Both are avid fishermen. Both were shocked by her catch and with good cause. Most redfish are less than half the size of this one.
The largest ever caught weighed in at 94 pounds. But that record was set in 1984 in North Carolina.
"My husband is 30-years-old and he's been fishing all his life. My father-in-law is 60-years-old and he's been fishing all his life," she said. "Both said they've never seen a redfish that big."
Jessica's husband is responsible for her love for fishing. She says she was a real "city girl" when they first met, but he changed all that.
"I'm a country girl now and I wouldn't have it any other way," she said with a laugh. "He's taught me how to fish and hunt and do a lot of outdoorsy stuff."
In fact, the couple will often have date-night at Bass Pro.
"The last time we were there, I was looking at the bait and I thought, 'what would I like to eat if I were a fish,'" she said. "I like shrimp and I like pink, so I saw this cute pink shrimp and I decided to get it."
It wasn't until she changed her bait to her pink shrimp that she caught the redfish eye. But ultimately, it was an eye she had to set free.
"She was just so pretty, and I didn't think redfish didn't get that big, so I had to let her go," she said. "And I guess it's the little tree hugger in me, but I don't like things to go to waste. My husband has caught fish half that size and so much goes to waste. So we did let it go because this creature just needs to live."
As for Jessica, she's even more excited than ever for her next fishing trip. She's always loved being on the water, but now she can't wait to see what she'll catch next. And, she has a tip on how you can make a big catch, too.
"Just eat lots of snacks, reapply your sunscreen and buy cute bait and you'll catch big fish! That's what I do. That's my secret."