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Weighty weekend for fin and feather


That crash you heard last weekend was the sound of two state fishing records falling, but don't take your fingers out of your ears because a hunting mark may fall, as well.

Ray Ferstemann of Essex is the new owner of the brown trout record, and David G. Martin of Cumberland holds the cutthroat mark.

Ferstemann caught a 12-pound, 14-ounce brown trout in Deep Creek Lake last Saturday, breaking by 4 ounces the record set in 1994. The fish was 29 1/4 inches long with a girth of 19 1/8 inches.

The record has been verified by the state, and the fish is over at Tom's Tropicals on Belair Road, waiting to be mounted.

Martin's cutthroat was 7 pounds, 9 ounces, 28 3/4 inches long and 14 1/2 inches around. He caught it last Saturday in the North Branch of the Potomac near Barnum.

Ferstemann, 25, has been fishing his favorite spot on Deep Creek for about five years (don't ask him where it is; he's a nice guy, but not that nice).

It was about 5 p.m., and Ferstemann had just lost a monster trout .

"I had a six-pound test line and tried to horse him in. The line snapped. I should have known better," he said.

Before he could begin concocting his "one that got away" story, he had another bite. After a 10-minute wrestling match, the fish was alongside the boat. Ferstemann had himself another monster.

"Once he saw the net, he took off for the bottom. I couldn't stop him. With his teeth the way they were, if he had shaken his head, he would have slipped away," he said.

The battle continued for another 15 minutes, with Ferstemann's dad, Leroy, and fishing buddy, Dave Gentry, standing by.

"I was praying," said Ferstemann, laughing. "I wasn't going to lose this one."

Finally, the fight was out of the fish, and Ferstemann got a chance to net his prize.

"I've never seen a brown trout that large in Maryland. I figured it was close to a record."

The digital scale blinked 14 pounds.

A triumphant Ferstemann then made a decision that probably shaved some weight off his record. Instead of taking his prize to a Garrett County weigh-in station, he waited until Monday, when he could share the publicity with his local shop, Bowley's Bait and Tackle. He double-checked the number at Outdoor Sportsman.

Unfortunately, the fish dried out a little by the time he got it to the official scales.

"That probably cost him a half-pound," said George Clavell, owner of Bowley's, who was grateful for Ferstemann's gesture. "The extra weight would have given him a record that would have stood for a while."

The brown took a 1/8 Thomas double-bladed spinner and powerbait combination in about 60 feet of water.

Ferstemann said when the brown comes back from the taxidermist's shop, it'll go in a glass display case next to a 9-pound trout he caught last year.

"This one makes last year's look like a mini," he said.

Martin, 43, was at the end of a day of fishing when he hooked his record cutthroat. The City of Cumberland employee and a buddy had waited all day for the level of the North Branch to drop after a whitewater release.

They were working a riffle; Martin caught four, his buddy took a 16-inch brown trout.

Martin switched from nightcrawlers to a small rapala. Three casts later, he had a strike. "It went down the river 80 yards, then up the river," he said. "I hooked it on the Maryland side, but landed it on the West Virginia side. I thought for sure I had a brown trout because I'd never seen any cutthroat that big."

The men raced up the bank to get the fish weighed at Pap's Bait and Tackle in Barnum, but it had closed. Ditto BJ's in Swanton. They packed the fish on ice and brought it back to BJ's the next day. Ken Pavol, western manager for the state Department of Natural Resources, verified the record.

Martin, who fishes almost every day after work, said he had 4-pound test line on his son's 8-foot rod and Quantum reel.

Awaits word on bird

Tom Barr hopes his hunting story has a happy ending, too.

Barr, who lives in Gettysburg and works as a design engineer in Columbia, bagged his turkey on May 12 in Prince George's County while with Bob Zablocki of Annapolis.

The first check-in station they tried was closed. A hardware store in Brandywine was open, but the scale had a 25-pound maximum.

"It pinned the scale," said store employee James Robert Young.

The spurs measured 1 9/16 inches and 1 7/16 inches. The beard was 11 inches.

"I've been turkey hunting for 40 years and I've never taken a bird like this. It's a magnificent bird," said Barr.

Sensing a record, the two hunters put the turkey in a freezer overnight and made arrangments to take it the next day to Keystone Sporting Goods in Hagerstown.

The freezer broke down, and in the 90-degree heat of that weekend, the bird spoiled. By the time he got it to Keystone, it weighed 24.4 pounds.

Turkey scoring for best overall bird combines the measurements of the spurs and beard plus the weight. The Maryland record is 76.88; Barr's totals using the Keystone number is 76.43.

"That really hurt," said Barr. "The bird was head down in a plastic bag and lost moisture, but they wouldn't weigh the blood."

Young has written a letter to the National Wild Turkey Federation, the keeper of the records, explaining that the turkey weighed in excess of 25 pounds. "I hope it helps," he said. "That gentleman had a nice bird."

Barr said he will forward his supporting material to the federation, Lewis of the Central Maryland chapter of the federation, said he is looking into the matter with officials at national headquarters.

Barr's one consolation is that the area in which he was hunting is home to at least one other potential record breaker.

"I saw him the day before. He was a monster," said Barr, who for obvious reasons is keeping the location to himself. "And he's mine."

To read an expanded Outdoors Journal or the fishing report online, go to

To hear the fishing and crabbing report, call SunDial and enter category 5378 on your touch-tone phone. The phone number is 410-783-1800 in the Baltimore area; 410-268-7736 in Anne arundel County, 410-836-5028 in Harford and 410-848-0038 in Carroll.

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