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Pennsylvania Angler Catches Maryland Record Cod

Fred Brungart of York, Pa. and his record-setting Atlantic cod

Brungart of  Pa. and his record Atlantic cod

Fred Brungart of York, Pennsylvania caught a Maryland record 38-inch, 24-pound Atlantic cod on May 31 out of Ocean City. Brungart hooked the fish aboard the 80-foot headboat Ocean Princess captained by Victor Bunting.

After recognizing that the Maryland State record fish list did not include cod, Captain Bunting encouraged Brungart to have his catch weighed on the Ocean City Fishing Center’s scale. Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Service biologist, Steve Doctor, certified the fish and launched the process to determine if  Atlantic cod would qualify as a State record species.

Keith Lockwood of DNR Fisheries State Fishing Record Program said the Atlantic cod is a coldwater fish that can be abundant in the Mid-Atlantic region with recreational catches up to 50 pounds.

“Since the collapse of the cod population in the 1960s forceful Atlantic coast fisheries management action has produced a slow recovery, with small fish in the six- to eight-pound range occasionally being caught in Maryland waters,” said Lockwood. “While this 24-pound fish is not particularly large in the history of cod, it is a significant catch at this time and worth recognizing as a State Record and a sign of hope for more, and bigger, fish to come.”

Delaware’s record cod is a 44-pounder caught in 1975; New Jersey lists an 81-pound record fish caught in 1967; and Massachusetts features the cod as its state symbol, with a 92 pound record fish caught in 1987.

The Atlantic cod may join the list of Maryland Angler Award qualifying fish for the 2014 Maryland Fishing Challenge pending input from the Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission and final DNR approval.