On July 10, 2010 Capt. Vaughn of Off The Hook Charters was finishing up a fishing charter with Emmett Towey and John Bankhead, and he had just purged his livewell of bait. Despite 2010 being a down year for tripletail according to Vaughn, the big brown fish in the snapper-grouper complex was located right in front of the beach between Hilton Head Island and Tybee Island, Georgia.
"The tripletail was hanging out under a dead floating horseshoe crab when I saw him," said Vaughn, "and it looked like a potential record fish to me." With no live bait on board, he picked up his Sage 10-weight fly rod spooled up with 10-weight floating line and a 20-pound tippet of leader. "I cast a red and white Lefty's Deceiver and it took a few casts for the presentation to look right before the big tripletail ate."
The fight lasted 10 minutes and the fish jumped three or four times, a tendency that Vaughn says looks a lot like a largemouth bass jumping, and the frisky fish was netted by Emmett Towey. "These fish tend to hang around structure like a channel buoy and they will break you off more often than not," said Vaughn, "but this fish was free-floating under that horseshoe crab and I was able to play him."
Just last year while fishing with his father, Vaughn had another potential record tripletail hooked up, but lost him close to the boat because the fish refused to give up. This time, he put the fish in the livewell for the ride back to Hilton Head, before visiting the Piggly Wiggly to have the fish weighed on a certified scale, and photographed, according to IGFA rules. Then he mailed the tippet and the photos to the IGFA, and only a mandatory waiting period has the record still listed as pending.
"I love to eat tripletail and me and my buddy Byron Sewell had a little celebratory cookout that night," said Vaughn. Saint Simon's Island in Georgia seems to be the hotspot for tripletail in the spring, but some of the larger fish visit Calibogue Sound and Port Royal Sound near Hilton Head. The state record tripletail, caught in 2005, was weighed in at 33.8-pounds.
If you wish to leave a congratulatory comment or view another photo of this big tripletail on the SouthCarolinaSportsman.com forum click here.