Huge Hatteras permit could establish new N.C. state record

Hatteras permit
Todd "Harry" Elder's 24+ pound Hatteras permit may establish a new N.C. state record.

Permit weighed more than 24 pounds

Todd “Harry” Elder of Virginia Beach, Va. was fishing at Hatteras on May 26, 2020 when he made a surprise catch. While using live bait, Elder hooked and landed what is probably the biggest permit ever caught in North Carolina waters.

Elder’s permit tipped the scales at 24.4 pounds. He weighed the fish at Oceans East Bait and Tackle – Nags Head. The fish could potentially set the North Carolina state record. But as of right now, North Carolina’s record book does not list the species of permit as a category.

Permit, widely caught throughout Florida and the Bahamas, rarely venture into waters as far north as Hatteras. While anglers have caught a handful over the years, it happens so infrequently that the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries has never established a state record for the species.

Will permit be added to North Carolina’s record list?

Generally, whenever an angler catches a species that is not currently on the DMF’s state records list, it is not eligible for a state record. However, in some circumstances, the DMF will add that species to the list. Whether that will happen this time is anybody’s guess, but the paperwork for Elder’s permit is in the works.

When a species is added to the list, it is usually because the fish was an exceptional catch (this one certainly is), and/or because the fish caught is in line with the state record for surrounding states. That poses a problem, as South Carolina does not have a permit in its state records list, and neither does Virginia or even Georgia.

The closest state that does list permit in its records list is Florida. Their state record weighed more than 56 pounds. In Alabama, a 3-pound, 12.8-ounce permit is listed as their state record. Mississippi’s state record is a little bigger than nine pounds, and Louisiana’s state record weighed slightly less than five pounds.

Whether the fish becomes a record or not, it is a great catch, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for anyone fishing in North Carolina waters.

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Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1648 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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