If you’ve never heard of a puddingwife wrasse, you’re not alone. Recently the spotlight was turned on this colorful reef fish when a North Carolina angler caught a 3-pound, 11-ounce puddingwife that is a new North Carolina state record and a potential world record.
Angler Connor Stone caught his blue and green beauty about 10 miles off his hometown of Southport, North Carolina on July 27. Southport is south of Wilmington at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, and we must assume Stone was in pursuit of something larger, as he was geared up with 50-pound braid on a Fin-Nor LTC16h reel and a Fiblink Signature rod. He was fishing squid on the bottom.
Stone’s fish measured 18 inches fork length and had a 13-inch girth. It is 3 ounces heavier than the IGFA all-tackle world record, which weighed 3-pounds, 8-ounces and was caught off Key West, Florida in 2003. Stone said he plans to apply with IGFA for the world record.
For those wondering what a puddingwife wrasse is, this popular aquarium species is a nearshore reef fish, a bottom dweller that feeds on shrimp, crabs, bivalves, worms, sea cucumbers, sea stars and urchins. Frequently mistaken for a parrotfish, it is not a typical angler target, but according to several online sources it makes decent table fare. The puddingwife is native to the west Atlantic and lives in warm nearshore waters from Brazil north to the North Carolina coast.