Family and visiting Texas friends of Sue and Jared Beiriger had taken their 38-foot catamaran boat “Double Down” far off Grand Isle, Louisiana on July 16. There were six people on board, and they’d enjoyed filling a cooler of red snapper with their three fish per person limits.
It was already a full day with plenty of fish. But it was only early afternoon so they decided to head to a different rolling bottom spot not far from an oil rig and try for grouper.
About 2 p.m. Sue dropped a menhaden bait down over 450 feet, letting it soak a bit on bottom to see if a grouper might be home. That’s when another person onboard hooked a big amberjack.
“I felt a fish hit, too, set the hook, and for awhile I figured it was another amberjack,” says Sue from Gonzales, La. “It was so strong, I just knew it was an AJ, but about half way up, it just quit fighting – just became dead weight. That’s when I turned to my husband and asked him if he thought it might be a grouper – which is my favorite fish to catch.”
Using a Shimano wide lever drag reel with 60-pound Power Pro braided line, and stout rod with roller guides, Sue soon got the upper hand on the fish. With lots of big fish catching experience, Sue had it beside their boat in about 15 minutes.
“That’s when I looked down and saw it was a colossal grouper!” she says. “My husband looked down and said, ‘that’s a new state record’. And that’s when I went wild, shouting and laughing, crying and smiling. It was fantastic, just crazy.”
They took cell phone photos of the massive fish and friends on shore quickly confirmed it was of state-record proportions.
At Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle, the grouper officially weighed on certified scales at 42.95-pounds, which should easily top the state record for yellow-edge grouper by several pounds. And it’s not far short of the IGFA all-tackle record for the species at 48-pounds, 9-ounces.
Sue says the fish has been positively identified by state fisheries authorities, and the paperwork for a state record for her fish are in the works.
“I’ve caught marlin, sailfish, roosterfish and lots of others, but this grouper is the best, most exciting catch I’ve ever made,” Sue gushes with enthusiasm. “The best part though, was that my grandkids were on our boat and got to experience the whole thing.
“Nana catching a state record grouper will be hard for all of us to forget.”