Maxwell Diegel, 13, first tried fishing about two years ago, when he went to a cabin with his grandparents and had fun catching some blue gills. During the pandemic, he started fishing regularly and, on April 19, the seventh-grade North Harford Middle School student made the Maryland record books.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources officially recognized Maxwell as a state record holder for catching a 2.14 pound fallfish in Broad Creek, his local stream.
“A lot of people try to get trout, carp or bass,” Maxwell said. “The little ones can be fun to get. I had looked into the records last summer … and thought I might be able to do this.”
Fallfish, Maxwell said, is a large minnow. When he caught his record breaker, he put it in a cooler and took it to a local seafood place to have it weighed. A biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources came the next day to verify the fish.
“The cool thing is, he was just doing it in his neighborhood,” said Eric Wilson, a spokesperson for DNR. “He went out one afternoon and caught it. He did the research on his own and discovered he may have a state record.”
The department keeps state records for sport fish in four categories — Atlantic, Chesapeake, nontidal and invasive, Wilson said. The previous state record for fallfish was 2.07 pounds by Adam Aghion in 2019.
While Maxwell enjoys making his own fishing lures, he used traditional worms to capture his record fish. The young fisherman already has his eyes on his next catch — a warmouth. The current record is 10.72 ounces, set in June 2018 in Charles County, according to DNR.
“I may be able to get that,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell will receive a plaque for catching the record holder.
He also got another surprise opportunity that presented itself when he snagged the record — a summer job at Conrad’s Crabs and Seafood in Bel Air, the site where his fallfish was officially weighed.
“I will be measuring and bagging crabs,” Maxwell said. He started May 22.
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Anglers who think they might have a potential record catch can fill out the state record application on the DNR’s website and call 443-569-1381 or 410-260-8325.