State DNR certifies two record fishing catches

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service recently certified a new freshwater-division white perch record and an Atlantic division cobia record.

On Sept. 5, James Stiars of Baldwin caught a 1.7-pound white perch in Loch Raven Reservoir, breaking the previous record of 1.62 pounds set by John Williams in 2008, also in Loch Raven.

"It was my first cast of the day," Stiars told the DNR. "I was using a Shad Rat crank-bait, and I thought I had a largemouth bass on the line. When I saw it was a perch, I knew it could be a record."

He stopped at the Crab Truck & Seafood Stop in Fallston on his way home to get the fish weighed on a certified scale. The following weekend, he met DNR biologist Keith Lockwood at the Maryland Fishing Challenge Finale at Sandy Point State Park to have the species certified, completing the process and earning him the record.

Stiars fishes Loch Raven two to three times a week in the warmer months. He says, "I'm sure there's bigger perch in there."

On the same day, near Ocean City, Jack Latimer of Potomac caught a 79-pound cobia about a mile and a half east of the inlet while fishing with Steve Magassy in a 16-foot skiff.

"We had been out about 5 miles east of Ocean City fishing for flounder and were on the way back in when we saw the fish on the surface," Latimer said told the DNR. He and Magassy simply used what they had and cast out a couple of bucktail jigs tipped with soft-plastic twister tails. "One of the fish took my lure, and that was about it," Latimer said.

They returned to AKE Marina in Ocean City, where DNR fisheries biologist Steve Doctor confirmed the species and the weight. The fish was 60 inches long with a girth of 30 inches.

The DNR maintains state records for sport fish in three divisions — Atlantic, Chesapeake and freshwater — and awards plaques to anglers who achieve record catches.

To report a potential state record catch, call 443-569-1381 or 410-260-8325. Anglers should keep the fish immersed in ice water to preserve its weight until it can be checked, which can be done at a seafood retailer or a grocery store with a certified scale.

Fish caught from privately owned, fee-fishing waters are not eligible for record consideration.

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