Wild Chesapeake: 1st-of-its-Kind Record Fish Caught off Ocean City

Brian Gay of Millsboro, DE set the inaugural state record for white hake by reeling in a 16.71-pounder fishing Poor Man’s Canyon off Ocean City.  Photo courtesy Brian Gay/ DNR.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service has confirmed two new fishing records—one in the Atlantic Ocean and the other in non-tidal waters.

On March 16, Brian Gay of Millsboro, Delaware reeled in a 16.71-pound white hake from a depth of roughly 280 feet while fishing over Poor Man’s Canyon off the coast of Ocean City. Gay’s white hake makes its debut into the state’s record books, claiming the first-ever top spot for that species in the state’s Atlantic Ocean Division.

He and his fishing buddies thought it could’ve been a world-record red hake, which is similar in appearance. State biologists confirmed the species by counting its scales and examining the fish’s eye and jaw structure. Martin’s Fish House in Ocean City verified the weight on a certified scale.

According to DNR’s recreational fishing outreach coordinator Erik Zlokovitz, “The species is recognized by several northern states as well as the International Game Fish Association, so it should be distinguished as a state record in Maryland.”

 Nick Palese of Baltimore City claimed the state’s non-tidal record for bullhead catfish by landing a 4.94-pounder on May 18 while fishing from his kayak at Big Gunpowder Falls in Baltimore County. Photo courtesy Nick Palese/Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Nick Palese of Baltimore City claimed the state’s non-tidal record for bullhead catfish by landing a 4.94-pounder on May 18 while fishing from his kayak at Big Gunpowder Falls in Baltimore County. Photo courtesy Nick Palese/Maryland Department of Natural Resources

 Nick Palese of Baltimore City caught a 4.94-pound bull catfish on March 18 while fishing from his kayak for largemouth bass along Big Gunpowder Falls in Baltimore County to set a new non-tidal record for the species. DNR biologists confirmed the species and weight on a certified scale at Conrad’s Seafood Market, beating the 3.6-pound record held by Zelijko Korectic.

Maryland DNR maintains sportfish state records for in four divisions: Atlantic, Chesapeake, Nontidal, and Invasive. Fish caught from privately-owned, fee-fishing waters are not eligible for consideration. If you think you’ve landed a potential record fish, immediately put it in ice water to preserve its weight until DNR can certify the species and weight. Also, download and fill out the state record application and call (443) 569-1381 or (410) 260-8325.

-Capt. Chris Dollar