The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has officially recognized Bobby Graves of Salisbury as the third official state record holder for the Florida pompano (Trachinotus carolinus) in the Chesapeake Division.
Graves caught the record-breaking 6.44-pound fish in the Chesapeake Bay near Bloodsworth Island, Dorchester County, on September 17. He caught this impressive pompano while fishing for spotted sea trout using soft crab for bait. The fork length of the fish was 20.25 inches, and the total length to the tip of the tail was 22 inches.
Graves reached out to the department for species verification and documentation of the catch. Fisheries biologist Gary Tyler verified the species as a Florida pompano. Its weight was certified by How Sweet It Is produce market in Eden, Maryland.
The species is commonly found in the southeastern U.S., in the warmer waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, but occasionally moves northward and has become increasingly common in Maryland waters. Given its increased frequency, the Department of Natural Resources began recognizing Florida pompano for Maryland state records in 2019.
This new record breaks the previous record set by David Schrock on Labor Day weekend of 2020, a 5.05-pound fish caught from shore on Tilghman Island. The current International Game Fish Association world record for Florida pompano is 8.25 pounds, caught in Port St. Joe Bay, Florida, in October 1999.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources 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 for consideration.
Anglers who think they have a potential record catch should download and fill out a state record application and call the state record hotline at 443-569-1398 or email Erik.Zlokovitz@maryland.gov. The department suggests fish be immersed in ice water to preserve weight until it can be checked, confirmed, and certified.