August 24, 2008

One Strange Fish, Potential for 2 World Records

Virginia's deep-water bottom-fishing scene seems to get increasingly interesting every year.

The fishery already has produced world records for blackbelly rosefish, snowy grouper and tilefish. But it also produces pretty strange fish, some of which anglers struggle to identify.

Trips in the past few weeks have produced such a fish. And two catches are under consideration as world records.

The species is a Darwin's Slimehead. It looks like a giant goldfish and is sometimes referred to as an orange roughy or a deep sea perch.

Chris Boyce of Hampton caught one on Aug. 17 that weighed 3 pounds, 8 ounces. He is considering filing paperwork with the International Game Fish Association for the initial world record for the species.

On Monday, Ron Van Kirk of Williamsburg caught one that weighed 7- 8.

If both file paperwork with the IGFA, Boyce's fish would be a world record but only for the amount of time it takes to certify Van Kirk's fish.

Van Kirk's fish could be more problematic for Boyce.

According to IGFA representative Julie Ball of Virginia Beach, when considering an initial world record, IGFA officials have to establish what a trophy fish is for that particular species.

If the organization has two fish, and one is twice the size of the other, there is a chance that the smaller one won't be deemed "trophy size."

Of course, both fish still have to meet tough IGFA record guidelines.

And with the way this fishery has gone in recent years, chances are that a bigger one will be caught in the coming weeks.

more deep dropping

Jere Humphries of Norfolk caught a pending world-record snowy grouper while deep-dropping last week at the Norfolk Canyon.

Humphries was using a Boston mackerel for bait and was fishing with Capt. James Collier when he caught his 68-pounder. The current record of 66 pounds was caught by Chris Boyce of Hampton.

North Carolina towing

North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley has vetoed a bill that would do away with a state law that restricts some boat towing on certain days and times.

The current law bans boats from 8 feet, 5 inches wide to 9 feet, 6 inches wide from being transported by trailer at night, on Sundays and on business days on either side of a national holiday.

The law was adopted more than 20 years ago for safety reasons.

But statistics from the North Carolina Department of Transportation show trailers carrying boats in those size restrictions rarely are involved in an accident. From 2004 to 2007, such trailers were involved in 22 crashes a year out of a yearly average of 230,000 vehicle accidents.

A proposed bill would have made it legal to tow such trailers with a special permit.

But with the bill being vetoed, owners towing such trailers will continue to be subject to tickets and fines from $500 to $1,000.

surfer girl

Kate Easton of Virginia Beach last weekend won her first Surfing America USA girls longboard national championship.

Competition in 10 divisions was held at San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

Easton's victory came despite being sent to the beach with less than seven minutes left in the final heat. Officials required Easton, 15, a Cape Henry Collegiate sophomore, to leave the water after two interference penalties. Remarkably, she stayed in the lead despite having her top two scores cut in half because of the penalties. One of Easton's championship rides scored a near-perfect 9.5.

North Carolinians Cody Leutgens and Chris McDonald took first and second, respectively, in the men's shortboard final. Ty Roach, also of North Carolina, won the men's longboard.

billfish results

The fifth annual Virginia Beach Billfish tournament concluded too late Saturday to get the results in today's paper.

For information on how the tournament went, check out The Pilot's Hunting and Fishing blog at


From the Wine, Women and Fishing billfish tournament held out of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach. The 32-team event raised approximately $30,000 for breast cancer research:

1. Canyon Express with Capt. Greg Span, blue marlin caught by Leesa Jo Claywell and a sailfish by Aime Kehoe. Claywell was named the top angler; 2. Gannett with Capt. Kurt Ward, 3 white marlin caught by Mardee Collins, Lynn Regeinus and Robin Hassler.

From the Ladies Tuna Tournament held out of Wachapreague on the Eastern Shore:

1. Debbie Bohlman on the Caneelin with Capt. Randy Bohlman of Maryland, 39.8 pounds. Largest dolphin-Brittany Medlin on the Pelagic Assult with Capt. John Romm of Maryland, 25.75 pounds. Largest wahoo-Lorraine Fishback on the Marlin Magic with Capt. Bill Tyson of Virginia, 43 pounds.


The Kingsboro Bowmen will hold a 2 Buck Shoot to benefit Hunters for the Hungry on Sept. 14 at the organization's range at the Lone Star Lakes Park in Chuckatuck. Registration is from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., and the minimum donation is $2. Shooting on the 3-D range will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call Mike Serig at (757) 242-9314, Ed Stevens at (757) 471-4571 or Ed Bickham at (757) 255-2294.

- Lee Tolliver

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