Catch so large, state creates new species record category

A North Carolina angler’s catch of a type of grouper called a red doe led to the creation of a state record category for the species.

Matthew Parr of Wilmington caught the 7-pound, 1.6-ounce red doe on October 1 and the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries announced this week that it had certified the catch as a record.

“North Carolina previously did not list a state record red deer, but created the category after Parr requested the state record,” the agency explained in a press release. “The Division of Marine Fisheries is creating new categories of state records for fish that are exceptionally important to North Carolina.”

Matthew Parr with his record red line. Photo: North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries

Giant red doe catches are rare. The International Game Fish Assn. lists two 9-pounders, caught off Florida and Georgia, tied for the world record.

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The red doe is native to the western Atlantic and ranges from the eastern United States to Brazil. They represent an important commercial fishery in the Caribbean.

The fish are reef dwellers and feed mainly on crabs and other crustaceans and small fish.

Parr caught his 21.5-inch red doe on cut bait while fishing with Captain Charles Stewart Merritt of Salt Air Ventures off Cape Lookout.