About a month ago on our full-day offshore Gulf Stream trip, one of our lucky anglers caught an extremely rare catch! Here’s what he had to say about the catch:
Back in early May my father(Jed) and I went out on the Miss Hatteras and as we always do we had a great time. On that trip I caught a fish in which Capt Stowe and K.P. had no idea what species it was other than a tropical reef fish. At first I thought it was a french angelfish but through further research I was able to positively ID the fish as a Blue Angelfish. We weren’t sure it was good to eat as we couldn’t find any table fare reviews of it. At the dock the spouse of one of the fisherman on that trip saw the fish on my stringer and immediately flipped out. She went on for about 4 minutes about how beautiful the fish was and she ‘can’t believe i killed it’. Through talking with her and her husband we found out that the blue angelfish is a prized aquarium fish. Because they cannot breed in captivity divers capture them from reefs and put them up for sale however they are somewhat rare especially full grown adults. Live adult Blue Angelfish sell for an average of about $300-400 a fish.
Obviously the fish was long since dead so there was no going back in that regard but My father and I said we would filet it and see what it tasted like. After all, how often do you get the chance to eat a $150 fish filet. We filleted it, whitest meat we have ever seen on a fish. Whiter than black sea bass or even a Chilean sea bass… My dad and I each ate one fillet of the fish. Absolutely by far the best fish we had ever eaten. Texture was flaky, mild flavor, absolutely wonderful.
So before we cleaned it and ate it, I took my digital fish scale and weighed it then measured it. 3 pounds 6.4 ounces and 21 inches long from lips to to the middle of the tail, not pinched.
In hindsight my biggest regret in this whole thing was not getting it weighed at an official NC weigh station. First off, the North Carolina fisheries people do not have a record on file for the blue angelfish, presumably because they are so rarely caught in these waters, however they said if I had gotten it weighed it would have been a state record. Secondly I did find two other states that have state records on file for the blue angelfish. Alabama’s state record is 2 pounds 10.6 ounces. Texas state record is 2 pounds 14.4 ounces. My fish was 3 pounds 6.4 ounces. No records exist for this species in SC GA FL MS or LA. Even marine biologist profiles of the fish say that they can get up to 3 lbs and as much as 18 inches long. My fish was 21 inches. There is no listed IGFA Record since it is not a ‘typical sport fish’.
Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve… Hindsight is 20/20. I just wanted to email y’all and let you know that while nothing is official you can know in your hearts that the Miss Hatteras caught what is surely the largest Blue Angelfish in North Carolina history and (as far as I have found in research) the largest Blue angelfish in USA history.
Hope y’all are having a happy and productive summer! We will see y’all again in the Fall, second and third weeks of October.
This catch was truly one in a million, and one that we’ve never seen before here in the Outer Banks!