Jere Humphrey of Norfolk, Virginia has established a new state record for snowy grouper with a 68-pound fish caught August 17, 2008. The record-setting grouper bested the existing state record, set by Chris Boyce of Hampton, Virginia on December 9, 2007, by two full pounds. Humphrey is filing an application with the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) for acceptance of his catch as the IGFA All-Tackle Record for snowy grouper. Boyce's 66-pound snowy grouper currently holds the IGFA All-Tackle record.
Humphrey caught his grouper "deep-dropping" near the Norfolk Canyon in over 50 fathoms of water while fishing aboard the private boat Bone Daddy, skippered by James Collier. The fish had a length of 46-1/2 inches and a girth of 37 inches. The record fish was caught on a custom made rod, mated with a Penn 340 GTI reel and spooled with 80-pound test braided line. The record-setting grouper hit a simple bottom rig baited with Boston mackerel.
Snowy grouper was added to the list of species eligible for state record recognition by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament Committee at their fall meeting in 2006 and carried an initial qualifying weight of 38 pounds. Roger Burnley of Virginia Beach registered Virginia's first qualifying snowy grouper, at 49 pounds, 9 ounces, on April 29, 2007. Burnley's record was eclipsed on June 10, 2007 by Bob Manus of Ark, Virginia with a 65-pound, 8-ounce grouper. Manus' record status held until Boyce landed his 66-pounder in December 2007. All three prior record snowy grouper were caught in the general vicinity of the Norfolk Canyon "deep-dropping" in over 50 fathoms of water and using either whole or cut fish for bait.
For more information, contact Lewis S. Gillingham, Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, 968 S. Oriole Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, (757) 491-5160, firstname.lastname@example.org.