World Record Spanish Hogfish Hooked Off Coast Of North Carolina

A man holding a fish
Dr. Bob Timson

A lot of people will typically call a big fish a “hog.”

This species is quite literally a hog though. It’s a Spanish hogfish and we’ve got a new world record.

This is at least the 9th world record breaking fishing caught in North America this year.

This year’s other world record breakers from around the country include a bighead carp and a spotted gar from Missouri, a tiger trout in Washington, a snook in Mexico, a yellowmouth grouper in Florida, a paddlefish in Oklahoma, a meanmouth bass in Texas, a bullhead catfish in Louisiana, and a sunfish in Arizona.

The new hogfish world record might be one of the smaller fish on the list, but it’s also the most vibrant and unique looking of all the fish.

According to Carolina Sportsman, Dr. Bob Timson was fishing offshore from the Cape Fear Inlet earlier this summer.

He was targeting mostly grouper when he had a peculiar day on the water though, seemingly catching several random fish including a greater soapfish and spotted scorpionfish. Earlier in the day though, he reeled in a very colorful fish that looked somewhat similar to a parrotfish, however it was unidentifiable without help from the internet and the fishing crew was out of cell phone range.

Once he was back within cell service, Dr. Timson looked up the fish and his inclinations proved to be correct.

It was not a parrotfish, it was a Spanish hogfish. Making the situation more interesting is that the fish was caught a good bit further north than its typical range.

Spanish hogfish typically inhabit waters off the coast of southern Florida down through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, so catching one as far north as North Carolina is pretty uncommon.

When Dr. Timson realized the hogfish he caught looked bigger than most of the ones in pictures, he looked up the world record out of curiosity. It was 1-pound 8-ounces. The unofficial scale on the boat checked his fish in at more than 2-pounds, so he tracked down a scale that was certified by the International Game Fish Association to verify his record breaker.

A nearby tackle and hardware store had a certified scale, but they were already closed for the day. He put the fish in on ice and returned to weigh it in the morning.

Much to his delight, the fish officially registered at 2-pounds 11-ounces and broke the previous record by more than a pound and has already been certified as the new world record.

“We were fishing in 200 to 250 feet of water offshore of Frying Pan Tower when the fish hit.

There really wasn’t anything special about the fight, except that once near the surface, it got a burst of energy and pulled some drag. We had been catching larger fish and were a little surprised at this. But some offshore bottom fish save a burst for when near the boat and we didn’t think anything of it.

It hit a crab that one of the other fish had regurgitated. The crab was laying on the deck and looked good, so I put it on the hook and dropped it back down. That apparently was the right thing to do.”

Now that the fish is officially recognized as a world record, he will be submitting the paperwork to have it recognized as the North Carolina state record as well.

The new world record Spanish hogfish beat the old record by more than a pound.

If you plan on doing any fishing in North Carolina, then be sure you purchase a fishing license. Please keep in mind that in states like North Carolina, you oftentimes need separate licenses for fishing coastal and freshwaters respectively.

The sale of fishing licenses directly funds the protection and enhancement of public boat ramps, aquatic environments, and fish populations in all 50 states.

It also protects you from potentially being fined, having your gear confiscated, and/or losing your fishing privileges. It’s important to remember that just because you have a fishing license in one state, that does not mean it is valid in another state.

And as always, please fish responsibly and save the whiskey until after you’re off the water.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock