MOREHEAD CITY – The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries officially certified two state record fish catches Friday.
A Jacksonville man broke the state queen trigger fish record with a 10 pound, 11 ounce fish caught July 3, and a Newport man established the state gag grouper record with a 43 pound, 8 ounce fish caught May 12.
Benjamin Peterson of Jacksonville caught the queen trigger 55 miles out New River Inlet using squid as bait on a Shimano Trevela rod and Shimano Sarasota 18000 reel with Power Pro 65 pound test braided fishing line. It measured 23.5 inches fork length (tip of the nose to fork in the tail) and had a 22-inch girth.
Peterson’s queen trigger replaces the previous state record of 10 pounds, 5 ounces, set in 2011. The world record queen trigger was 14 pounds, 3 ounces, when it was caught in Mexico in 2009.
David Abernathy of Newport established the state record for gag grouper with a 43 pound, 8 ounce fish caught off Morehead City using a Roscoe jig on a Shimano Saragosa reel and Star Spinning rod with a 65-pound test fishing line. It measured 45 inches total length (tip of the nose to tip of the tail) and had a 31.5-inch girth.
North Carolina previously did not have a state record gag grouper. To establish a state record fish, the angler must submit an application that is then reviewed by N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries staff and a N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament Advisory Board. The fish must be exceptionally large for North Carolina waters and within a reasonable range of the world record.
The world record gag grouper was 80 pounds, 6 ounces, caught off of Florida in 1993.
For more information, contact Carole Willis, division sportfishing specialist, at 252-808-8081 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download photos of Peterson and Abernathy with their catches at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/2012-nr-072412-photos.