When Toby Grantham takes a break from working with seafood, he boards a boat and, well, chases seafood. Not long ago, the Knightdale resident reeled in a record catch and discovered a new type of fishing outing.
On Sept. 25 off Atlantic Beach, Grantham boated a 27-pound, 1-ounce scamp that the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries on Jan. 14 officially designated the first state record for the species. Grantham caught the grouper midway through a rare 48-hour trip aboard the party boat Continental Shelf.
“When I caught it, I didn’t really think it was that big a deal. I knew it was a citation-size grouper,” said Grantham, 39, who was bouncing a jig off the bottom.
He said Dave Tilley, the captain, recognized the fish as close to the International Game Fish Association world record of 29 pounds, 10 ounces for a fish caught off Alabama in 2000. Grantham’s fish was put on ice and, the angler said, lost at least a pound in the 24 hours that passed before the fish was weighed on a certified scale.
The catch was 40 inches total length and 26¼ inches in girth. The angler used a 50-pound test line on a Blue Water Candy Lures Roscoe Jig fished from a Shimano Stella 8000 SWPG reel on a 250g Black Hole Cape Cod Special 54S rod.
Grantham, who enjoyed a few grilled scamp meals, has a certificate as a reminder.
“A lot of times with saltwater fish, they just make replicas. I think I’m going to have that done later this year,” said Grantham, who estimates he spends 60 percent to 70 percent of his free time fishing when he’s not managing his parents’ Dunn restaurant, Jim’s Seafood.
He’s already scheduling another two-day trip.
“A 48-hour trip is pretty tough, to be out on the water for two days,” said Grantham, whose equipment list includes lots of terminal tackle, cigar minnows, about 20 jigs, two rods, bottled water and peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches.
He also suggests a beanbag – one designed for boats – for sleeping.
Find N.C. saltwater records at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/north-carolina-state-saltwater-records.
The fish was caught before the current record 43-pound, 8-ounce fish caught May 12, 2012, off Morehead City. The world record weighed 80-6 and was caught off Florida in 1993.
The seminar will run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 24 at the Shrine Club, 2102 S. Glenburnie Road, New Bern. Tickets cost $50 before March 16 and $60 after. Contact Stewart at 252-670-2841.
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