Rob Martin comes from a big fishing family, and he’s been fishing since he could lift a rod.
The Century senior hauled in an 18-pound sheepshead in the Ocean City Inlet on the morning of Sept. 22, setting a new state record for the Atlantic Division for sheepshead. The record was previously held by Raymond Daniels, who caught a 17.5 pound sheepshead in the Ocean City Inlet 13 years prior.
The catch was officially weighed and certified by the Ocean City Fishing Center, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.
“When we got the fish up, I knew it was a big fish but I didn’t know what the state record was and my dad said we should get it weighed,” Martin said. “We got it weighed and saw somewhere that the record was a little less than what mine was, and we knew if we got it weighed on a certified scale that it could be a good record.”
Martin, 17, and his father Brad left for Ocean City on Sept. 20 for an extended weekend of fishing. The pair caught 11 sheepshead on Thursday, and Martin said they were all relatively the same size.
They set out for the south jetty off the Ocean City Inlet on Friday morning around 6, Martin said. Martin said he caught the state record fish at about 9, and knew there was something different about it once he reeled it in.
“I was really excited and it seems almost surreal,” he said. “I felt pretty good.”
The Marland DNR maintains records for sport fish in four divisions — Atlantic, Chesapeake, Nontidal and Invasive, according to the organization’s website.
Martin said he has relatives with houses in Ocean City, and has been exposed to the water for as long as he can remember. That exposure brought along an interest in fishing and it’s become something he’s truly passionate about.
“My favorite place is Ocean City because there’s a lot of different fish and a lot of bigger fish,” Martin said. “My favorite type varies depending on the time of the year. In the winter, I like tautog fish, striper year-round, and flounder and tuna in the summertime.”
Martin’s brother Bradley graduated from Century two years ago and the brothers and their father go on fishing trips together when Bradley is home from college. There isn’t a distinct time to expect fish to bite, Martin said, but incoming tides bring cleaner water which makes it easier for bait to eat.
Piney Run Park is close to Martin’s home and he said he fishes there locally. There’s a pond in the southern end of the county he goes to with his dad a few times a year as well, but Martin has his sights set on future catches back in Ocean City.
“I really want to catch a billfish, a red or blue marlin, or a sailfish,” Martin said. “Ocean City is the marlin capital of the world, and I just have to find time to get out there.”