North Carolina Angler Reels in Fish So Big a New Category Had to Be Created

by Victoria Santiago

In early October, North Carolina angler Mathew Parr caught a fish so large that the state created a new category for it. N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries only recently announced the fish record-worthy. Prior to Parr catching the red hind, a category and record had not been set for the fish. The fish was “exceptionally large” for North Carolina. He caught the fish near Cape Lookout on October 1st.

Cape Lookout is a group of three undeveloped barrier islands on the coast of North Carolina. Together, the islands span a range of 55 miles. Although well-known for the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, the remote islands offer a variety of activities, such as fishing, birding, windsurfing, and shelling.

As a matter of fact, spring and fall are considered the best seasons for fishing on the islands. After the large catch Matthew Parr had in October, this is undoubtedly true. Of course, state fishing regulations are enforced on the islands, and unwanted fish must be returned to the water.

Due to the remote nature of Cape Lookout National Seashore, there are no fishing piers or boat slips available. Charter boats are available for reservation in three cities along the seashore.

The Red Hind

The red hind is a Western Atlantic fish found in Bermuda to North Carolina. They can be found along the eastern coast of the U.S., the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean, where they are especially common. In the Caribbean, they are commercially valuable. Additionally, the red hind is recreationally valuable to fisheries all over. Red hind are commercially caught in multiple ways, including spears, traps, and hooks and lines.

They live in coral reefs and shallow, rocky areas along the bottom of the ocean. Their diet mainly consists of mantis shrimps, octopuses, and crabs, although they will also eat other fish. A solitary and territorial fish, they often spend their days camouflaging against the seafloor.

The maximum length of the red hind is 30 inches. The average length is 16 inches. Comparatively, Parr’s red hind was 21.5 inches long and weighed 7 pounds, 1.6 ounces.

2021 Fishing Records

Fishing records are numerous this year. In New Jersey, a salmon caught in an artificial lake earned Joe Satkowski a record. The lake was stocked with 14-inch salmon for years. Satkowski’s salmon was a whopping 26 inches in length. He beat the previous record by five ounces. In addition, a sheepshead caught near Long Beach Island, N.J. measured in at 26 inches, with a girth of 22.5 inches.

In Minnesota, a 64-year-old state record was broken when Nolan Sprengeler caught a 55-pound muskie. The world record weight for muskies is only a mere 12 pounds heavier – 67 pounds at 8 ounces. The world record has been unbroken since Wisconsin, 1949.