North Carolina’s Division of Marine Fisheries certified a catch made June 30 off Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, as a new state record for graysby, a small and relatively unknown grouper found throughout much of the Southeast U.S., Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean region.
Edward J. Tait of Little River, South Carolina, was fishing offshore out of Ocean Isle Beach — near the North and South Carolina state line — when he caught the 3-pound, 0.8-ounce graysby near an offshore reef.
Tait’s grouper tops the prior North Carolina record graysby that weighed 2 pounds, 3 ounces, caught off Masonboro Inlet on May 31, 2022 — just a month prior to Tait’s catch.
Tait reports he’s also applying for IGFA recognition for his catch, since the All-Tackle World Record for graysby currently is just 2 pounds, 8 ounces, caught by George Flores on March 2, 1998 off Stetson Rock, Texas. That Texas fish measured 16.75 inches, while Tait’s heavier fish measured 17 inches, with a 13.5-inch girth.
Tait reportedly was fishing with squid bait using an Okuma spinning rod and Okuma Tesoro 8000 reel spooled with 65-pound-test line.
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council states that graysby grouper are often found near small ledges and caves in coral beds, but prefer reefs since they blend in with the surroundings at depths of 10 to 60 feet.