Michael Jenkins, of Little River, was fishing offshore of Little River Inlet when he hooked and landed the 31 pound red grouper on Friday Aug. 15. While he knew it was a big fish, he wasn't immediately aware it was heavy enough to claim the new state record by 14 ounces.
Jenkins, 50, pushed out from Little River aboard the "Fish Screamer III" with Capt. Danny Juel at the helm, and accompanied by his son, Thomas Jenkins, and a few friends. The boat, a 40-foot charter sportfishing vessel, anchored on a piece of underwater structure in approximately 100 feet of water, 50 miles offshore to do a little bottom fishing. Jenkins was fishing with his personal 6-foot Penn rod and reel combo and using a small grunt, called a tomtate, for bait. It was rigged on a circle hook with a 16 ounce sinker.
Jenkins fought the record red grouper for about 10 minutes before bringing it to the surface. The record fish was 36 1/4 inches long (fork length). Jenkins' catch tops the previous state record red grouper by 14 ounces.
The previous record was set 32 years ago in 1976 by Gary Frost, while fishing offshore of Charleston.
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologist Amy Dukes certified the new state record fish weight at Eugene Platt's Seafood Market in North Myrtle Beach.
For a current listing of all of S.C.'s state record saltwater fish, visit the DNR website at www.dnr.sc.gov/fish/saltrecs/record.html.