At 18.42 pounds, this hefty fish is now Maryland’s new record snakehead. According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the fish was arrowed by Emory “Dutch” Baldwin III last Friday in the flats near Marshall Hall. Baldwin and a friend, Franklin Shotwell, had been out stalking northern snakehead, as well as hoping to catch some catfish among the grass.
The two may not have found any catfish, but they did spot a beast of a snakehead.
“Franklin saw the big snakehead, but it was on my side of the boat,” Baldwin told officials.
He wasted little time in shooting an arrow from his compound bow, but actually bringing the fish in was a more complicated matter. Baldwin says the snakehead put up an impressive fight before he ultimately won the tug-of-war. The very next day, Baldwin transported the fish to a market in Marbury and had it weighed on a certified scale. A biologist from the DNR was present and confirmed the new state record. At its official weight, Baldwin’s fish surpassed the previous record holder by nearly a pound.
In October of last year, Michael Meade shot a 17.49-pound snakehead from Mattawoman Creek. While an extraordinary trophy for the bowfisherman, finding snakehead in that location is not exactly good news for wildlife biologists.
Northern snakeheads are considered an invasive species in Maryland, alongside blue and flathead catfish. Due to this, there are no limits to harvesting the species, and the fish can be caught by any legal fishing method. State biologists encourage anglers to catch snakehead if they can, but the fish’s behavior makes it hard to bring in on a rod and reel. Snakeheads are, however, very popular with bowfishermen.
“Eradication is not possible once these fish become established in an open river system such as the Potomac,” said DNR inland fisheries biologist John Mullican in a previous press release. “We expect that these fish will eventually become a permanent part of the Upper Potomac fish community. Confronting snakeheads in the canal system is the best way to mitigate their emigration into the Upper Potomac.”
Image courtesy of Maryland DNR