Angler Steve Jackson was ecstatic when he recently made a Facebook post that he had just been issued a state fishing record.
“Well it’s finally official. I am now the Louisiana state record holder for red grouper caught on a rod and reel,” he wrote. “Huge shoutout to Capt. Joey Davis of Relentless Sportfishing for putting us on lots of nice fish that day.
“Best of all, I had my son with me to see it happen and push to get it in the (record) books. Thanks, now it’s time to go back and do it again.”
Jackson, 52, a salesman from Benton, Arkansas, was entertaining four business customers and his son on Aug. 12 when they drove 10 hours to Venice, Louisiana to try for tuna. The weather was poor that morning for trying tuna, but Capt. Joey Davis said they could try for bottomfish when the weather laid down a bit at 9 a.m.
Out they went 20 miles offshore on Davis’ 33-foot boat to 120-feet of water. With bottomfishing boat tackle and using pogie baits they started catching big scamp grouper, snapper and some triggerfish.
“I went to the stern of the boat after fishing at the bow for a while, dropped a bait down, and wham, something strong hit it,” said Jackson. “When I brought the fish in the captain went nuts, and said it was a red grouper and likely a state record.
“I didn’t think much about it until we got back to the marina, and my son Justin pushed the record fish idea along, and sure enough we learned it crushed the old state red grouper.”
The fish was officially weighed on certified scales at the marina, and fortunately a state fisheries biologist was on hand to verify the fish was indeed a red grouper and helped with state record paperwork.
“That was in August when we submitted it, and I was going call the record folks about what was the hold up, but the red grouper state record certificate showed up in the mail that day,” Jackson said.
When asked if he was going to have the fish mounted by a taxidermist, he chuckled.
“I have deer mounts hanging all over the place at home, so a fish mount likely wouldn’t fit in very well,” he explained. “I left the fish with the captain, and maybe he’ll mount it.
“It’s been a pretty good year for me fishing. Earlier this year I caught a blue marlin while visiting Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Not a bad year at all.”