David Walker, 32, says he tries to fish at least three times a week near his hometown of Boothwyn, Pennsylvania. Since his wife does not care for the taste of fish, it means that Walker is able to enjoy more than his fair amount of seafood, including one succulent baked sheepshead late last month. The Delaware Department of Natural Rescources and Environmental Control (DNREC) recently announced that Walker’s 17.1-pound sheepshead was actually a state record. Thankfully, Walker managed to have it certified before it became dinner.
“I didn’t actually know it was going to be [a record] but I knew it was big enough and close enough to be a state record,” Walker told The News Journal.
According to the DNREC, Walker caught the impressively-sized fish in the lower Delaware Bay on September 29. Sheepshead fish are gluttons for all kinds of tasty crustaceans, and Walker said he lured this one in with a green crab over a rock pile. When the angler brought the fish on board his boat, it was measured at 28 inches long and 24 inches in girth. Those measurements handily beat the previous record, held by a 15.11-pound fish caught by Chris Wentz in 2012. Sheepshead fish usually grow to an average of three or four pounds, while especially large ones may reach over 10 pounds.
One thing that many anglers may find interesting is that sheepshead fish have human-like teeth. In fact, these strange-looking fish have three rows of molars in their upper jaw and a set of strong grinders towards the rear, which makes eating armored crustaceans like crabs a breeze. Walker’s record catch also meant that he had a lot of meat to share. Some of the fish went to Joe Morris, owner of the Lewes Harbour Marina. Morris was the first to weigh the fish and confirm that Walker had broken the state record. The angler added that the catch was delicious, and that he expects to be chasing record fish again soon.
Image courtesy Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control