Red hind bottomfish are common throughout the south Atlantic, Florida and into the Caribbean Sea. But they are comparatively rare off North Carolina.
Yet Jared Lambert of Wilmington boated a huge 7-pound, 11.2-ouncer that the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) now has officially certified his catch as a state record. Lambert’s record red hind measured 23.06-inches in length, with a 23-inch girth – as fat as it was long.
The good-eating bottomfish hit a live pinfish bait, while Lambert was using 60-pound test line spooled on a Penn 6/0 reel fitted to a Star rod.
Lambert’s 7-pound, 11.2-ounce catch betters the previous North Carolina record red hind of 7-pounds, 1.6-ounces, which was caught in 2021 off Cape Lookout.
The new red hind North Carolina was caught near Frying Pan Tower, located on famed Frying Pan Shoals, well-known as a top bottomfishing spot for snapper, grouper and many other reef dwellers.
Frying Pan Shoals lays off Cape Fear and is notable for its hundreds of shipwreck reefs that have drawn anglers for generations to the area for stellar fishing.
Red hind are a type of grouper, often mistaken for other species, including red snapper. While strong fighters and tasty at the end of a fork, they’re smaller than many other groupers and snappers.
The IGFA All-Tackle red hind is 10-pounds, 9-ounces, caught Sept. 13, 2021 off Jacksonville, Fla. by angler Roland Williams. This All-Tackle red hind had a 26.5-inch length, with a 23-inch girth – measurements not much larger than Lambert’s catch.
Lambert’s new North Carolina state record red hind is less than 3 pounds shy of the IGFA world record catch, and just a few inches shorter.
IGFA only has an All-Tackle record category for red hind. Interestingly, most of the red hind IGFA records have come from Florida, with only one IGFA record each from Georgia and Alabama.
A large red hind caught north of the extreme South Atlantic seems to be a rarity, which Lambert’s catch is.