The newest state fishing record-holder in Maryland is a teenager who set the first record for the species he caught while trolling for bait.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says the 3.375-pound Florida pompano 14-year-old Scott Hartzell, Jr., of Enston, Md., established the state’s first recognition in the species category.
The fish was caught while trolling for baitfish with family and friends on Stone Rock near Tilghman Island. It bit a gold Clarkspoon. The record catch is listed in the state’s Chesapeake Division.
“We weren’t sure what it was,” Scott Hartzell Sr., the angler’s father, said in a press release. “We’ve caught crazy fish before but never this.”
Unable to identify the fish, the family took photos and sent them off to find out. A Maryland DNR biologist verified it as a Florida pompano; the weight was certified at the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory.
Florida pompano is commonly found in the warm waters in The Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, but only occasionally as far north as Maryland. MDNR Recreational Fishing Outreach Coordinator Erik Zlokovitz there have been some recent reports of Florida pompano being caught in the bay, and expects to see more.
Maryland DNR maintains state records for sport fish in four divisions – Atlantic, Chesapeake, Nontidal and Invasive – and awards plaques to anglers who achieve record catches. Fish caught from privately-owned, fee-fishing waters are ineligible for consideration. Click here for more info state record application
The department suggests fish be immersed in ice water to preserve weight until it can be checked, confirmed and certified.