Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pending World Record Hogfish caught in S.C.

Wes Covington with the record hogfish

Hogfish are named after their natural beauty
Hogfish mouth on the Avet reel used to catch her
Veteran angler Wes Covington has been bottom-fishing for grouper for years, so when he got hooked up on 9/11/11 near the Georgetown Hole he thought he had a monster grouper on the line. Fishing with a Seeker Hercules jigging rod and an Avet Raptor HXJ reel, Covington used a top secret bait on a circle hook to entice the hogfish to bite during flat calm oceanic conditions, and tells us that this hogfish was twice as strong as a grouper of the same size. The record fish was weighed at Haddrell's Point West on the morning of 9/12 by store manager Scott Hammond, who was cool as a cucumber when he joked with Covington that he had just missed breaking the state record mark. Ha, ha. The current S.C. state record was caught in 1988 in Murrell's Inlet and weighed 20-pounds and 8-ounces. The hogfish was taken to SCDNR for biological samples, like otoliths (earbones), and the fish was also fileted for its tasty flesh. Did you know, that hogfish are more likely to be harvested via spearfishing since they are very reluctant to bite a baited hook? "A hogfish is almost the polar opposite to a grouper because a hogfish won't chase down a bait, making it a rare catch for an angler using a rod and reel," said Covington. After the SCDNR visit, it became apparent that Covington's 21-pound and 15-once trophy would also challenge the current world record for hogfish (21-pounds and 6-ounces), which was caught in 2005 near Frying Pan, North Carolina. Covington knew of the world record N.C. hogfish and had been following the progress of N.C. anglers that were trying to set a new record by catching an even larger specimen. It seems Wes Covington beat them to the right spot, and he feels very blessed to have caught this fish!

To view past blog entries about state record fish click here.

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