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26 Year-Old Maryland State Fishing Record Broken By Severn Angler

September 8, 2006

Maryland Croaker
Russell Knapp of Severn With His State Record Croaker
Annapolis, Maryland — Russell Knapp of Severn, Maryland broke the state record for Atlantic croaker by catching a 6.52 pound croaker at the "Triangle" off Point Lookout in the Chesapeake Bay on Monday, September 4. This catch eclipses the previous record set by Rome Tull who caught a 6 pound, 3 ounce fish more than 26 years ago on July 9, 1980 at the "Puppy Hole" in Tangier Sound. The giant croaker was caught in 35 feet of water.

"I knew it wasn't a striper the minute it hit,” said Mr. Knapp. “He took off like a locomotive. I actually thought I had a red drum on the line."

Atlantic croakers are members of the drum family and pound for pound fight like their bigger cousin, the red drum. Next to striped bass, croakers are one of the most popular sport fish on both the Chesapeake Bay and the Ocean City area of Maryland’s Atlantic coast.

“The capture of this fish is of great interest to scientists, as this fish may represent one of the oldest fish of this species ever taken,” said DNR Fisheries Ecologist Martin Gary. “The otoliths, or ear bones, are being extracted and sent to a specialist in South Carolina for age analysis. These fish can live up to eight years, so we look forward to learning the age of this fish.”

The record-breaking croaker fish may also be a new International Game Fish Association (IGFA) all tackle world record fish as well, pending approval. The previous IGFA record croaker was a 5 pound, 8 ounce fish caught by Carl Billings at Dauphin Island, Alabama on August 8, 2000.

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