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** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

February 10, 2011

Gray Court angler breaks brook trout record again

A record-breaking fish is said to be a once in a lifetime fish catch, but not for Wes Coker of Gray Court.

Using a spinner in deep water, Wes Coker broke the brook trout record on March 25, 2010, with a 2 pound 14.56 ounce brookie. Coker smashed the record again on Dec. 23, 2010, with a 4 pound 10 ounce brookie, measuring in at 19 and 7/8 inches, again on the Chattooga River below Burrells Ford.

In 2010, the South Carolina state brook trout record was broken a total of six times. The last being on March 31, 2010, by Wayne Hallberg of Travelers Rest with a 3 pound 9.5 ounce, 18.5 inch. Prior to 2010, the record had stood for more than 30 years.

"Brook trout are not all of a sudden getting bigger in South Carolina," said Dan Rankin, Upstate regional fisheries biologist for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR). "We have been recently taking the older brood fish that were used to provide eggs out of Walhalla State Fish Hatchery, and stocking them in Upstate streams. These 2-year-old and 3-year-old brood fish are the record fish that are now being caught. Still, this has created a great deal of excitement for trout anglers, and we're glad to see that."

All freshwater fish records for South Carolina can be found online.

To report your record-breaking catch, an Affidavit for Record Freshwater Game Fish must be completed and submitted to DNR no more than 45 days after the catch.

Anglers who think they have caught a state or world record fish should take the fish as soon as possible to a set of state certified scales, such as those used at grocery store. Two witnesses must be present and available to sign the state affidavit form. Photos should be taken for additional documentation and steps taken to immediately preserve the fish. This can be done by wrapping the fish in a dark plastic bag and placing the fish on ice or freezing it.

Freshwater all-tackle sportfishing records are kept for 32 species: striped bass, white bass, hybrid bass, white perch, largemouth bass, spotted bass, smallmouth bass, redeye bass, bluegill (bream), shellcracker, redbreast, warmouth, flier, pumpkinseed, white crappie, black crappie, brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, sauger, yellow perch, walleye, chain pickerel (jackfish), redfin pike, muskellunge (muskie), blue catfish, bullhead catfish, channel catfish, flathead catfish, white catfish, mudfish (bowfin) and American shad.

To purchase your South Carolina freshwater fishing license and start your quest for the next record breaking fish call 24 hours at 1-866-714-3611 or go online.

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