Jeremiah Elliott spends a lot of his time fishing.
Recently, the tackle shop owner was fishing for swordfish with three friends off the North Carolina coast, he told McClatchy News. But when he felt a tug on his line, it was much stronger than the 12-pound fish he expected.
Elliott and his friends pulled in the reel and found a massive creature on the other end.
At first, the group didn’t know what it had caught, Elliott said. Once the anglers got closer to shore and had phone service, they started researching and determined they had caught a bigscale pomfret.
“We started looking up trying to get an identification of it,” he said. “The old world record was 20 pounds, and we figured ours was more than that.”
Using a hand scale on the boat, the group determined that its fish was about 26 pounds, according to Elliott.
After making it back to shore, the group took the fish to a weigh station to get an official weight, Elliott said.
The fish weighed 26 pounds, 11.4 ounces, breaking the previous record of 20 pounds, 10 ounces that was set in Florida in 2004, according to a news release from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries. Previously, there was no state record for the species.
Elliot said he is in the process of applying for a new record with the International Game Fish Association.
The giant fish was almost three-feet long, measuring 35.5 inches from the tip of its nose to the fork of its tail, according to officials. Its girth was measured as 30.75 inches.
Bigscale pomfrets are the largest species in the Bramidae family of fish, according to Britannica. They are typically found in the Atlantic Ocean and can grow to about 35 inches.
Pomfrets are often characterized by their long single dorsal fin and deeply forked tails.
As for the fate of Elliott’s fish?
“Oh yeah. We kept it and ate it,” he said. “It was very good.”
Elliott caught his fish about 50 miles east of Morehead City, which is about 80 miles northeast of Wilmington.