Knightdale angler savors setting state scamp record

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.

Gag grouper certified: The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries also certified a state-record gag grouper. Timothy Gallimore of Ocean Isle Beach caught the 46-pound fish on May 1, 2011, southeast of Ocean Isle Beach, according to a news release.

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.

Seminar set: Local guides Gary Dubiel and Dave Stewart will join guest speaker Mark Nichols, designer and owner of DOA Lures, for a seminar on the lures to catch everything from rockfish to drum.

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.

Update on Sylvia II: The 36-foot, wooden “quarter boat” Sylvia II is fresh from the railway at Taylor Boat Works. Raised and restored by writer Bob Simpson and his late wife, Mary, Sylvia cruised the waters from Florida to Virginia. Bob, now retired, is looking for a new master and captain for Sylvia. All hands interested in the origins of charter boats and Carteret County’s watermen are invited for cake and coffee on Sunday afternoon at noon at the Sanitary Restaurant in Morehead City.

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