More than 18 months after he caught it, Tim Gallimore's 46-pound gag grouper
has been recognized as a North Carolina state record.
Gallimore, of Ocean Isle Beach, caught the huge grouper on May 1, 2011,
fishing about 60 miles off Ocean Isle with friends. Back in port, he got the
grouper officially weighed and certified and received a citation for his
catch from the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries. He knew that North
Carolina didn't have a state record for gag grouper, but he didn't know he
could apply to establish the initial record. In the fall of 2012, Gallimore found out that his fish would have been a
state record had he pursued that course; he read a story in the September
2012 issue of North Carolina Sportsman about another angler establishing the
North Carolina state record for a gag grouper at 43 pounds, 8 ounces.
He asked around and found out there was no time limit on applying for a
state record, as long as the proper documentation could be provided and
"I thought long and hard about this before even asking if it was possible,"
Gallimore said. "My catch was over a year old when I found out. Finally
several of my friends talked me into at least checking on it. They said
records are meant to be broken, and mine would be broken someday too. After
some coaxing, I decided to at least see if it was possible."
Gallimore spoke with officials of the NCDMF, completed a state-record
application and had it reviewed by DMF biologists and the Division's Records
Committee, which verified the catch as a gag grouper 17 months after the
fish was caught. Gallimore was notified on Jan. 12 that his record fish had
been confirmed and approved.
Gallimore was fishing with Todd Helf of Sunset Beach on Helf's boat, Almost
There when he caught the big grouper. They weighed the fish on certified
scales at Sheffield's Grocery in Ocean Isle Beach, where Helf and John
Sheffield certified the weight.
"I was fishing with Todd (Helf), Brian Richard, Robert Hughes and Tony
Hughes," Gallimore said. "It was the opening day of grouper season (in)
2011, and we had headed out to an area of good live bottom about 60 miles
off Ocean Isle. The morning had been fairly slow, but just a little after
noon something hit me that was serious.
"I was fishing a tuna stick with a TLD 25 and 80-pound Power Pro, and it
took off," Gallimore said. "It ran out hard, and I was pretty sure I had
hooked into a (amberjack). I was waiting for it to break me off in some
rocks, but I kept making a little ground on it. The first hundred feet was a
real battle, and I had to work hard for every inch, but after that it came
"We were all surprised when I got it to the top and it wasn't an amberjack,"
Gallimore said. "Thankfully, Robert was ready with the gaff and stuck it
first try, because just as it hit the surface, my hook fell out. It has
taken a while, but I'm going to enjoy this 15 minutes of fame."