Beaufort News

Is it a record? Beaufort captain hooks 27-pound scamp grouper

Capt. Ross Holmquist didn't think much of the large scamp grouper he pulled over the side of his boat Tuesday after a 10-minute fight.

"The fish hit, and it was a pretty good fight until we got it in about 20 feet of water -- then it was just dead weight," Holmquist said. "We brought it up and treated it like it was another big grouper. We took a few pictures of it and put it in the box."

Back at Port Royal Landing Marina, where he and Capt. Mike Sackman dock the 26-foot charter boat No Worries, his blasè attitude about the day's catch continued.

"I was getting ready to filet the fish when someone said, 'Hey, that might be a state record,' " Holmquist said.

The observer was right.

The 27-pound scamp grouper Holmquist caught about 45 miles from the mouth of Port Royal Sound appears to be the largest caught in state waters, according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

The agency still must confirm whether the fish is a state record, but the process is basically a formality after DNR officials examined and weighed the fish earlier this week, Holmquist said. It could take up to two weeks for the fish to be confirmed as a state record, he said.

DNR rules require that suspected record fish be kept intact, weighed on a state-certified scale and be verified by two independent witnesses.

The current record belongs to a Maryland angler who landed a 25.9-pound scamp grouper near Murrells Inlet in 2007, according to the DNR website.

The astute dockside observer who suggested the fish might be a state record likely saved Holmquist a place in the record books.

"It just looked like another good dinner to me," Holmquist said.