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Four New Maryland Fishing Records Set

Maryland angler catches first State record snakehead

Berry holding his record snakehead

Berry and his record snakehead

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources certified two northern snakehead, one cobia and one wahoo State record fish in June. The first-ever record snakehead was trumped in a matter of hours by another angler’s catch.  

Just after midnight on June 1, James (Jay) Berry of Chesapeake Beach caught a record northern snakehead in Pomonkey Creek while fishing with a bow and arrow in the annual Potomac Snakehead Tournament. DNR Tidal Bass Program Manager Joe Love certified the 16.78-pound fish that afternoon at the Smallwood State Park weigh-in, marking Maryland’s first record snakehead.

Later that same day, Theodore (Teddy) McKenzie of Upper Marlboro brought his catch to the Potomac Snakehead weigh station where it tipped the scale at 16.94 pounds and ended Berry’s claim to the record.

Each angler will receive an official Maryland State Record plaque and the chance to win prizes in the invasive species category of the 2014 Maryland Fishing Challenge. DNR created the new category to raise public awareness of the harm invasives can cause, adding northern snakehead to the State record list last year. Invasives are non-native species that can aggressively establish themselves in an ecosystem and negatively impact native plants, animals or habitat.

Henry displaying his 75-pound cobias

Henry displaying his 75-pound cobias

To qualify for records or angler awards for the invasive fish category, which includes northern snakehead, and blue and flathead catfish, anglers must keep/harvest their fish. Those who qualify in the invasive species category will be entered into a special drawing for one of two prizes this fall.

On June 28, Jon Henry of Sunrise, Florida caught two cobia that tied for the record. Henry and friends were heading south from the Ocean City inlet to do some free-dive spearfishing over the African Queen wreck when they spotted a few cobia near Little Gull Shoals. Henry cast a bucktail lure with a plastic eel trailer and hooked one. After an hour-long fight he had the fish in the boat and quickly cast back to another, hooking it. The crew headed back to Sunset Marina for a weigh-in, where DNR Biologist Steve Doctor determined them to be essentially identical. Both fish came in at 54.5 inches long and 75 pounds, beating the previous 72-pound record set in 2009 by Chris Toner.

Schaar’s record wahoo catch

On June 30, John Schaar of Cardiff, California caught a record-setting wahoo. He was trolling a crystal and chartreuse Sea Witch lure with a ballyhoo trailer in about 60 fathoms of water over the Rockpile ─ a fishing “hot spot” 58 miles southeast of Ocean City ─ and hooked an 82-inch, 131-pound wahoo. Sunset Marina weigh-master Dave Wengel weighed the fish on an International Game Fish Association-certified scale, and DNR’s Steve Doctor certified the catch as a new State record. The previous record was a 111-pound fish caught in 2003 by Christian Tiller.