After a slow start in a southwest Florida fishing tournament, angler Alex Newman landed a fish that was for the books. Is this the new world record black grouper?
Hailing from Bonita Springs, Florida, Alex Newman was participating in the 3rd Annual Ronald McDonald House Charities Rodeo out of Fort Myers Beach aboard the 33-foot Honey Money.
Newman was able to land the 124.18-pound fish to ultimately win the tournament. But it didn’t come easily.
He and his crew were among the 32 boats and 400 participants in the tournament, pitted against each other for the top prize in 10 different species. Any fish weighed in during the tournament was given to the charity, including Newman’s ultimate prized catch.
After nearly 2.5 hours of slow fishing, and only a few fish to show for their efforts, Newman got the bite of a lifetime. It was a tough fight, but using his custom built bent-butt rod (by Sewell Custom Rods of Fort Myers), he was ultimately able to land the monster grouper.
The fish put up a good fight, as groupers typically do.
According to Newman, it takes a combination of skill and luck to land one, particularly of this magnitude, since their first instinct is to dive and hide once they’re hooked. Lines are easily and often broken as the fish take cover in wrecks and other underwater structures, and the angler finishes the fight empty handed.
Initially, no one on board the Honey Money had any idea just how big Newman’s grouper was, estimating it weighed closer to 90 pounds, until they struggled to pull it into the boat.
The current 124-pound world record black grouper, according to the International Game Fish Association, was caught in 2003 off the coast of Texas, and has held on to the title for the past 12 years.
Routine steps must be taken through the IGFA in order for a fish to be deemed a world record, which can take quite a while. Although the results are not yet official, Newman hopes to get Fort Myers on the map for such an historic catch.