When a young Dorchester County man hooked a fish on Tilghman Island over Labor Day weekend, he couldn’t figure out what he’d caught. When he consulted the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), it turned out to be a record-breaking Florida pompano.
26-year-old David Schrock was fishing from the shore with multiple rods in the Black Walnut Point area, using “a piece of peeler crab on a traditional Chesapeake two-hook top-bottom rig.”
When one rod took off, a friend guessed it might be a large bluefish on the line. After 10 minutes of fighting the fish, he pulled in the mystery catch and couldn’t identify what he’d caught.
“We had no idea what it was at first,” Schrock says. When Schrock reached out to DNR, Recreational Outreach Coordinator Erik Zlokovitz verified the species as a Florida pompano.
The species was just recognized in Maryland records one year ago, when 14-year-old Scott Hartzell Jr. caught a 3.375-pound pompano—also close to Tilghman Island.
Shrock’s fish was certified at 5.05 pounds by Wittman Wharf Seafood, making it a new record. It had a fork length ( from tip of the snout or jaw to the end of the middle caudal fin rays, or “fork”) of 18.5 inches.
Schrock, upon hearing the news that he had a confirmed state record fish, remarked, “Wow … I think I need to play the lottery!”
That's a chunky Pompano. A striper that length would likely only weigh 3 lbs.
Just goes to show you never know what's going to show up on the other end of the line. This year has been pretty good for exotics; we had relatively high salinity, so a lot of warm water, salt loving coastal species show up this year.
The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Elizabeth Taylor ready for your digital enjoyment.