When he isn’t in the kitchen at either of his restaurants, it’s a good bet that local chef Adam Kirby is fishing.
But it’s not every day that he and his friends snag not one, but two record-setting black drum. This is exactly what happened when Kirby and friends Alistair Bremner and Jim Maass were fishing off Georgetown on Monday.
“We went offshore, and it was supposed to be nicer than it was, but it was pretty rough,” said Kirby, co-owner of Bistro 217 and Rustic Table in Pawleys Island and a South Carolina Chef Ambassador for 2017.
They stayed out there for a couple of hours, bringing in seven or eight black sea bass before they started to catch some big redfish, but Kirby said he didn’t like pulling them up from that deep because it hurts them.
They headed back toward shore, but Kirby suggested stopping at the jetty to try for some black drum.
“When we were heading out there, I told them I was going to catch the state-record black drum. Thirty seconds later, I did,” he said.
They figured the weight of that fish to be 111 pounds, based on an equation from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, or SCDNR: Girth times girth times length divided by 800. The fish was 53 inches long and 41 inches around – a state record-setter.
But the kicker came when Bremner hooked a gigantic black drum weighing in in at 122.5 pounds based on the same equation – 53 inches long and 43 inches around. Kirby said this catch is a world record.
“We couldn’t officially [certify] that thing because it’s not legal to bring that fish in, so it’s kind of a catch 22. But not only did that break the state record – that’s a world-record fish,” he said.
The fishermen used a device called a Boga Grip to weigh their catch.
“The Boga Grip only weighs up to 60 pounds, and [the fish] bottomed that thing out like nothing.”
Kirby cited an asterisk next to the state record listed on the SCDNR website, with a notation as follows: “Because of current SCDNR slot limit regulations, the record listed will remain until fishery regulations change.”
This simply reiterates that protections are in place to regulate the size of a fish that can be harvested from a given body of water. The existing record was logged in Port Royal in 1978 for a black drum weighing in at 89 pounds.
The International Game Fish Association, of IGFA, cites an all-tackle record in place since 1975 for a black drum weighing just over 113 pounds. Monday’s largest catch surpassed that record by almost 10 pounds.
Although both fish were safely released, Kirby, Bremner and Maass will keep their bragging rights.
“We have it all on video,” said Kirby. “We just have to know for ourselves and for everybody else that we did it.”