Capt. Michael Owen had never been fishing in South Carolina offshore waters before, then on Tuesday (Sept. 7) his life-long fishing buddy John Beauford reeled in a whopper amberjack weighing 123-pounds. They looked at each other and decided to head into port in case they might scare the state record, and they ended up beating the old record from 2008 by more than 22-pounds.

"I've been fishing inshore waters all my life, and I've never caught a fish bigger than this one," said Beauford of Awendaw. "My buddy brought his boat on a trailer here from the Mississippi Gulf where he had been working. I convinced him to trailer 'Wasabi,' his 34-foot Sea Vee with triple 275s, and to come fish the Atlantic a bit, and our first day out we caught a state-record fish."

Beauford is 67-years old and is a South Carolina Sportsman magazine subscriber who said the two fishermen picked out a live bottom area on a chart, and went and fished over it because it looked good to them. They caught a small dolphin and one amberjack prior to enticing the big AJ to strike an artificial lure that Beauford was jigging around 1 p.m.

They departed out of the Isle Of Palms marina and started fishing in 300-feet of water very near the Georgetown Hole. The 4- to 6-foot swells in the morning subsided quickly as the ocean layed down for them by noon. They had bluewater to fish in, and the current was moving at a slow 1 1/2-miles per hour – near perfect conditions for jigging.

"It took an hour and a half for him to reel in, and it looked like a real slow tug-of-war. They went back and forth," Owen said.

Beauford said the fight was intense.

"When I got tired I'd just hold the rod still, catch my breath and let the fish pull against me," he explained.

Using a Shimano rod and reel and Suffix line and leader, Beauford finally got the fish to the boat.

"I said, 'That's the biggest AJ I ever saw, and we better go check what the state record is,'" Owen said.

They had planned the trip for about a week and a half and had planned to fish all day, but with the amberjack onboard they elected to head in and get it weighed. Mount Pleasant Seafood on Shem Creek weighed the record amberjack and Amy Dukes, South Carolina Department of Natural Resource's State Record Marine Game Fish Program coordinator, certified it as a new state record.

"The fish was a female that measured 69-inches long – that's one giant amberjack," Dukes said.