Unexpected Catch Leads to Potential Record

A group of anglers swordfishing off Morehead City, North Carolina, caught an unusual deep-water fish and landed in the record books.

Part of the fun of fishing is not knowing what you’re going to catch — even if you’re an avid and experienced angler. Jeremiah Elliott, his brother Zach, Chandler Butler, and Trevor Burns were wrapping up an afternoon of swordfishing on Jeremiah’s Regulator 26 center console 60 miles off Morehead City, North Carolina, when they hooked something strange.

Jeremiah began retrieving the buoy line on a rod with a manual reel, only to find he had a fish on. It was not a species he recognized. It was probably a world record. And it tasted good.

Unusual Species from the Deep

Pomfrets are a deep-water fish belonging to the Bramidae family, which contains about 35 species worldwide. Though they can be found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, most species are somewhat rare. The bigscale pomfret, which is what Jeremiah hooked, is the largest in the family. And Jeremiah’s is as big as they come.

Pending World Record Pomfret

Heading in, the anglers called Chasin’ Tails Outdoors Bait & Tackle in Atlantic Beach, “making sure we had the scales ready at the shop as they were coming through the Beaufort inlet with a possible world record fish,” the shop reported on Facebook. “We really had no idea what they had as it was hard to hear them over the phone.”

The rod was rigged with 80-pound braid, 130-pound leader, a 10-pound weight, and an 18 inch squid. The 35.5-inch pomfret took the bait 1,700 feet down, salvaging the afternoon. “No luck on the swords,” Elliot said. That morning, the group caught three mahi and a number of bottom fish.

The paperwork is being prepared to submit Elliot’s 26-pound, 11.4-ounce bigscale pomfret to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA). The current IGFA bigscale pomfret record is 20 pounds, 10 ounces, caught by W. Gordon Davis in St. Augustine, Florida, in Oct. 2004. Along with the pending IGFA record, Elliot’s catch is also tops in North Carolina, which had no statevrecord prior to the catch.

“We’ve already cleaned it and it was delicious,” Elliot said. “Odd fish, but it tasted good.”

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