Big fish could establish new N.C. state record
Donald Young, fishing out of Atlantic Beach, N.C. on July 1, 2020, caught a 98-pound black grouper while using Boston mackerel for bait in a deep hole near the Big Rock. And Young was fishing solo. Imagine landing that fish, by yourself, after fighting it to the surface!
Young took the fish to Chasin’ Tails Bait & Tackle, where he had purchased his bait earlier in the day. They confirmed the fish as a true black grouper, and weighed the fish on their certified scales.
The fishing trip did not look promising for Young until later in the day. Once on the water, he fished numerous holes known for holding grouper, but things weren’t going his way. It was only after he moved to the Big Rock area that his luck changed.
Black grouper catches are rare for N.C. anglers
Because anglers rarely catch black grouper off North Carolina’s coast, the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has never established a state record for the species. Usually, a species is considered for state record status only when an exceptional catch of that species is made, and when bordering states have established state records for that species.
While this fish certainly qualifies as an exceptional catch, state records for the species do not exist in Virginia, South Carolina, or Georgia. Florida is the closest state with a state record for the species. That fish weighed 113.38 pounds, and was caught in 1990 by Donald Bone.
A 124.18 pound black grouper was caught in Florida in 2015, but for some reason has not been accepted as the Sunshine State’s new record. This fish was also expected to vie for the world record, which currently stands at 124 pounds. That fish came from Texas waters in 2003 by Tim Oestreich.
Whether the state recognizes Young’s fish as a new state record or not, it is surely a catch of a lifetime.
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