According to the Maryland DNR, a North East man broke the Chesapeake Division state record for white catfish in the early morning hours of June 3. Brian Dvorak, an avid night angler, caught the fish off Turkey Point near the mouth of the Elk River.

Photo courtesy MD DNR
Photo courtesy MD DNR

“Night fishing is what I do,” Dvorak said. On that evening he brought in a few channel catfish and an American eel, but his last catch of the morning was “something different.”

A Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologist confirmed the species and the fish was weighed on a certified scale at local grocer. Coming in at 9.61 pounds, Dvorak’s catch beat the previous record of 8.27 pounds, set in 2017, by 1.34 pounds.“I can check this off my bucket list,” Dvorak said, adding he considers himself to be a passionate angler who dedicates himself to the sport.

The white catfish is one of two native catfish species that are found in Maryland’s brackish tidal and fresh waters. State biologists confirm the species by examination of chin barbels and fin ray counts.

The department maintains state records for sport fish in four divisions – Atlantic, Chesapeake, Nontidal, and Invasive – and awards plaques to anglers who achieve record catches. Fish caught from privately-owned, fee-fishing waters are ineligible.

Anglers who think they have a potential record catch should fill-out the state record application and call 443-569-1381 or 410-260-8325. The department suggests the fish be immersed in ice water to preserve its weight until it can be checked, confirmed and certified by staff.

It was only recently that the Maryland snakehead record was broken. Andrew Fox of Mechanicsville, MD, reeled in the record-breaking fish, which weighed in at 19.9 pounds, breaking the two-year-old record of Dutch Baldwin’s 18.42 pound catch in May 2016. The snakehead was caught bowfishing on Mattawoman Creek.