Others may follow, but only one angler can claim the title of being the first officially recognized state record holder for swordfish.
That honor goes to Annapolis resident Peter Schultz. He and teammates were fishing at the Washington Canyon during the Huk Big Fish Classic last weekend in Ocean City when Shultz landed a 301-pound swordfish.
They were aboard the sport fishing boat Real One, skippered by Captain Doug Rollins, when the record-setting fish swallowed a drifted eel pinned to a circle hook. Schultz reeled in the big sword after a grueling fight that lasted eight hours.
True, other state anglers have hoisted over the gunwales swordfish weighing in at more than 300 pounds, but those were all landed on electric or hydraulic reels. When Maryland established a slot for the swordfish in its record book a few years back, they rightfully mandated the sword must be caught on manual rod and reel.
Schultz’s swordfish weight was certified by Dave Hedges of M.R. Ducks at the Talbot Street Pier and confirmed by Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologist Erik Zlokovitz. (Shout out to Erik for hustling down the ocean, hon, in the wee early hours to get the paperwork started to verify the record).
Schultz told Maryland’s DNR that landing his record swordfish – what he called a “fish of a lifetime” – was definitely a team effort.
“We put so much effort into this,” Schultz said. “Everyone had a crucial role.”
DNR’s Zlokovitz noted that the swordfish fishery off of Maryland’s Atlantic coast “has really taken off in recent years, and we’re really excited about that.”
Team Real won a tournament record $542,000 in prize money, Huk Big Fish Classic director Brian Roberts reported. This year, 110 boats registered for the event, which had a total purse worth $1.2 million. Both are records for the three-day tournament that celebrated its eighth year.
“We succeeded in making the most fun tournament of the summer. Everyone we talked to said they love to fish in this tournament,” Roberts added.
Purging the tackle box
It’s been kind of quiet over the past two weeks on the upper Chesapeake Bay, the reasons for which we’re a lot familiar and that I’ve expounded on previously, so I’ll let that issue marinate for a while.
The down time has afforded me a chance to try and catch up on my never ending, always expanding punch list. I did manage to knock out a few things, such as replacing a leaky faucet and installing new shocks and struts to the work truck.
When I turned my energies to reorganizing the mountainous amount of fishing tackle I’ve acquired over the past 30 years, results were not as satisfying. Look for a yard sale at the Dollar household later this year.
Mainly I focused on lures that have sat docile on the rack, sad and lonely like those oddballs from the Island of Lost Toys. For some lures, the reasons I don’t use them anymore, if I ever did, are very clear; others not so much. I came across a few hidden gems among my collection that deserve another shot in the rotation, yet overall I encountered many more clunkers than I care to admit.
Hidden among the clutter was one jewel — a one-ounce Atom’s “striper swiper” still in its packaging. If you’ve fished for bluefish and stripers before or during the Reagan administration it’s highly likely you are familiar with the venerable striper swiper. If not, there’s a gap in your canon of knowledge of top-water lures.
For decades, this plug, whose origins date back to the 1940s when Bob Pond created it, has fooled an unknowable number of stripers into thinking it was a hapless baitfish. Many a sunset I tossed off Tolly Point with resounding success.
Atom’s striper swiper is still standard issue today in thousands of tackle boxes from Maine to Maryland. And with good reason: they still work. In that time, many other variations of top-water plugs have joined the party, some better than others.
As an outfitter and part-time guide, I often engage in some variation of this conversation, “What’s the best lure?” The answer, of course, is whichever one the fish are hitting on.
This lure purge got me to thinking (yes, a dangerous exercise to be sure): Does the lure make the angler, or vice versa? I guess a little of both, but over the long haul I’ve landed on the theory that it is the angler that makes the lure produce. Meaning, the same lure in two different fisher’s hands does not produce the same results.
All this to say is that while it’s important to have many different styles and types of lures in your arsenal, it’s probably more important to learn how best to fish each one. Sounds like fun to me.
Through Oct. 31: The Great Chesapeake Invasives Count. Register at ccamd.org.
Aug. 1-Dec. 10: Resident striper season. One (1) rockfish per angler, unless on a charter boat that uses electronic reporting. Circle hooks mandatory. Check DNR website for details.
Aug. 7: Little Bobbers Fishing Derby. Chesapeake Environmental Center, Grasonville. Ages 3-9. Registration required at BayRestoration.org/fishing-derby.
Aug. 15: Angler’s “White Perch Open.” Podickory Point Yacht Club, fishing starts 5:30 a.m., weigh-in 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Party from Noon to 5 p.m. at Podickory Point Yacht Club.
Sept. 18: Pasadena Sportfishing Group’s “Kids Fishing Derby.” Downs Park, 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 noon. Register at pasadenasportfishing.com or call (410) 439-3474 for details.
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