Each time the Commission on Marine Resources certifies a new fishing record it releases a photo of the lucky angler with his or her prize catch.
Ocean Springs resident Elijah Troutman’s photo was sent out Tuesday along with two other new record holders, but he wasn’t holding his fish — and for good reason.
Troutman, 22, pulled in a venomous Red Lionfish, which weighed in at 1 pound, 11.41 ounces. He eclipsed the previous record of 1 pound, 11.2 ounces from 2015.
He was fishing 80 miles offshore in 355 feet of water on an oil platform at the time of the Feb. 14 catch. The captain of the vessel was Travis Dickson.
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They were originally hoping to catch some tuna, but the water wasn’t cooperating so they decided to do some deep dropping.
Troutman told Dickson he wanted to make one last drop before heading in, but he feared he’d lost his squid bait when he hit the bottom. After cranking back up 355 feet, he had a surprise at the end of the line with his first state-record catch.
“My buddy told me it could be a record,” Troutman said. “Mississippi holds the world record and I actually beat it by .2 ounces, but it would have to go through (a special council) to determine if it was a world record.”
The Red Lionfish is considered an invasive species in the western Atlantic. The fish is covered in red-and-white striping and has long fins and venomous spines.
“You just have to make sure you don’t touch the fins,” Troutman said. “Lionfish actually has one of the more delicate meats. You just have to grab it by the mouth and watch for the fins.”
Troutman, 22, is a student at the University of Southern Mississippi in Long Beach.
Two other Jackson County residents had their records certified Tuesday:
Mark Ros Jr. of Pascagoula established a new mark for Southern Kingfish (Mentirrhus americanus) with a fish weighing 2 pounds, .84 ounces. The catch easily surpassed the previous record from 1985 of 1 pound, 14 ounces.
Scott Floyd of Pascagoula set a record for the Oyster Toadfish (Opsanus tau) with a catch of 2 pounds, 4.48 ounces. The previous record was 2 pounds, 4.2 ounces in 2014.