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Landing a record fish is no small feat | Fishing

Records are made to be broken, they say, but that’s not an everyday occurrence when it comes to fishing in South Carolina.

With over 80 saltwater species and over 30 freshwater species recognized in the state records program, it would seem that there are plenty of opportunities.

But it takes a lot to get past the hold of a lifetime, and it doesn’t happen very often.

Saltwater fish that weigh less than 50 pounds must break the existing record of 4 ounces; fish weighing between 50 and not exceeding 100 pounds must bet the previous record of 8 ounces; and fish that weigh more than 100 pounds must exceed the previous record of 16 ounces.

Freshwater anglers attempting to break an existing record with a catch of less than 25 pounds must exceed the previous mark of 2 ounces; freshwater fish weighing more than 25 pounds must exceed the existing record by at least 8 ounces.

If a hold does not meet these requirements, it is considered a tie. And there are many links that can be found in the list of records (dnr.sc.gov). In addition, all fish submitted for examination must be examined by a biologist from the SC Department of Natural Resources.

The South Carolina Gamefish Record program began around 1970, although some catches predating the record keeping program have been acknowledged.

The oldest record catch is a large 65-pound barracuda caught in 1948 by Henry H. Shelor of Sumter, who was fishing in Georgetown. The heaviest record is a 1,780 pound tiger shark caught by Walter Maxwell in 1964 off the Cherry Grove fishing pier.

There have been a few notable records set in 2022, the most recent being a snowy grouper caught on June 10 by William Hartness while fishing from the boat Outnumbered in Mount Pleasant.

Hartness’ catch weighed in at 36 pounds, 8 ounces, while the previous snowy grouper record was a 35-pound, 12.8-ounce catch by Christopher Cargill made two years ago.

“William said he knew it was a record the moment the fish was hooked. The captain and fellow anglers on the Outnumbered were also happy to talk about the catch,” said Elizabeth Gooding, who runs the program. saltwater fishing records for the SC. Department of Natural Resources.

“They asked great questions about the species and how we use the data collected. It’s these conversations that allow us to promote conservation and appreciation of our resources, and it’s encouraging to see interested anglers by these aspects of the program.”

On the freshwater side, Spartanburg’s Chris Edlund caught a 10-pound, 1.44-ounce walleye from Lake Tugaloo in Oconee County. But Edlund’s catch only shares the record with an equal 10-pound catch made from Lake Russell in 1994, just over half an ounce underweight.


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If the fish do not exceed the previous record by a certain weight, the new catch is recognized as a tie. And there are many links in the list of records.

Eight anglers share the spot record, a frequently caught inshore fish that doesn’t get very big. The initial record for the spot was a 1 pound, 1 ounce catch made in 1967 which shares the mark with a 1 pound, 4 ounce catch made in 2001.

The most notable tie on the freshwater side is for largemouth bass with catches of 16 pounds, 2 ounces made in 1949 and 1993 sharing the record.

In addition to meeting a weight standard, the fish must also be sport caught, i.e. single angler using conventional rods and reels. And unlike the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), there are no line class records, no fly fishing records, and no records for men or women only.

Fish must be weighed on a state-certified scale and must be inspected by a wildlife biologist to verify species. MNR biologists often have to burst the bubble of people who think they may have caught a record, but the species has been misidentified.

Biologists often remove the otolith, a bony structure found in a fish’s inner ear that can be studied for aging purposes. The contents of the stomach are also studied. And the sex of the fish is determined. All of these studies help biologists manage various fisheries.

Announcement of a recognized prey for inclusion on state record lists often results in a flurry of activity for a species.

Amy Dukes, who formerly ran the saltwater record program for the SCDNR, said several years ago that a record catch of golden tiles was made in May, that record was broken in June, then in July, another record-breaking golden tile had been landed.

The current record for golden tile, a deep-water bottom species, is a 28-pound, 3.2-ounce catch by Eddie Buck Jr. made in 2020.

There are saltwater record categories that are open and others that may never be broken.

Open categories include Spiny Dogfish, Spiny Dogfish, Yellowfin Grouper, Lionfish, Sea Triggerfish, and Bigeye Tuna. And due to state or federal regulations, species such as red drum, black drum, speckled tail grouper, Warsaw grouper, bigeye thresher shark, dusky shark, gray shark, tiger shark Sandfish, Silky Shark and Longbill Marlin are not eligible for a new record. .

But breaking the record for one of the eligible species can put you in good company.

American yacht club

America’s Boating Club Charleston will be hosting boating safety courses July 23 and August 6 at 1376 Orange Grove Road, Charleston. Classes start at 9 a.m. and end around 4 p.m. Successful participants are awarded the SC Department of Natural Resources Boater Education Card. Cost is $25 for adults and youth 12-18 are free. Call 843-312-2876 or email [email protected]