Late last week, North Carolina announced a new record for a species of saltwater fish called bigscale pomfret. Jeremiah Elliot, of Greenville, North Carolina, caught the 26-pound, 11.4-ounce pomfret off the coast of Morehead City on April 21. The fish outweighs the current International Gamefish Association (IGFA) world record by more than six pounds.
Elliot boated the record-breaking pomfret while using squid for bait. His Alutecnos Albacore 80 reel was spooled with 80-pound test, the NCDEQ noted in an April 28 press release, and he was using an RJ Boyle Swordfish rod.
The fish measured 35.5 inches from the tip of its snout to the fork of its tail and had a 30.75-inch girth. The current IGFA world record weighed 20 pounds, 10 ounces. W. Gordon Davis caught that fish off the coast of St. Augustine, Florida in October of 2004. Elliot’s fish stands to crush that record.
A Rare, Deeepwater Species
According to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), this is the first record for bigscale pomfret ever entered into the books in North Carolina. “Nobody has ever applied for a record for that particular fish species before,” Amanda Macek, a sportfishing biologist with the North Carolina Department of Marine Fisheries tells Field & Stream. “It’s more commonly caught on commercial longlines because it’s such a deep-water species. The anglers who caught this one reported that they were fishing in 1,300 feet of water.”
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The bigscale pomfret is the largest member of the pomfret family, which includes some 35 individual species. The fish have rounded snouts, big eyes, football-shaped bodies, and deeply-forked tail fins. They live at depths up to 1,600 feet and inhabit both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico where they feed on shrimp, octopus, and squid.