Two new South Carolina marine game fish records were set this January for Queen Triggerfish and Bluefin Tuna.
Marc Heiden, 41, of Florence, SC caught a 9-pound, 5.12-ounce Queen Triggerfish to claim the new state record on January 12. Heiden was bottom-fishing off the coast of Murrells Inlet with a double-bottom rig, using a cigar minnow and 30-pound test line. The skilled angler was also captaining his boat “Bite Marc”, and took only 3 minutes to land the record fish.
Heiden’s catch dismantles the previous SC state record for Queen Triggerfish, which was held by Joseph Schroer, of Pawley’s Island. On January 1, 2004, Schroer caught a 7-pound, 13.3-ounce Queen Triggerfish off of Georgetown.
An additional state record was set January 22, when Jim Scott Middleton III, 30, of Bluffton, SC reeled in a 396-pound, 14.4 ounce Bluefin tuna. Trolling off of Hilton Head, Middleton used a ballyhoo rig with a blue and white Islander lure and 80-pound test line to catch the record fish. Middleton fought with the fish for 4 hours aboard the boat “Echo” captained by Michael Perry.
Michael E. Stone, of Savannah, GA held the previous state record for Bluefin Tuna. Weighing in at 332-pounds, 6-ounces, he caught the former record fish in 1996 leaving out of Murrells Inlet and off the coast of North Carolina.
The Marine Resources Division of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in Charleston maintains state records for 67 species of saltwater fish. Saltwater fish weighing less than 50 pounds must break the existing record by 4 ounces; fish 50 to 100 pounds must break the old record by 8 ounces; and fish more than 100 pounds must exceed the previous record by 16 ounces. State record fish must be caught by sporting methods in accordance with state and federal laws