Ocean City, Md. — Governor Martin O’Malley was on hand this evening to congratulate two lucky anglers who broke state records at the White Marlin Open Fishing Tournament in Ocean City. Bob Farris of Charlotte, NC, caught a 1,062-lb. blue marlin, making history as the first blue marlin caught in Maryland weighing over 1,000 pounds. A second new record was set by Jamie Gill of Crofton, MD, who caught a 254-lb scalloped hammerhead shark.
“Maryland’s proud fishing tradition dates back to the earliest days of our State,” said Governor O’Malley. “I want to congratulate all the anglers who participated in this tournament, which is truly a celebration of our exceptional recreational opportunities and our great sportfishing industry.”
Farris was fishing in the tournament in Ocean City on August 5 when he hooked a large blue marlin near the Baltimore Canyon while trolling a lure on the charter boat No Problem.
“After a grueling three-hour fight, Bob was able to bring the huge fish to gaff, and the rest is, as they say, ‘history,’” said Keith Lockwood, of DNR Fisheries Service.
Blue marlin over 1,000 pounds are very rare, and often fishermen travel to remote places all over the world for a chance to fish for one.
Meanwhile, Gill and his friends were chunking for tuna at Massey’s Canyon when the scalloped hammerhead shark took a butterfish bait and the fight was on. After a three-hour struggle, the shark was brought to the gaff for weighing. Fishing stories often have colorful twists of how the big fish almost “got away,” and Gill’s story has a rather novel twist to that old adage.
“The shark was weighed and entered as a common smooth hammerhead shark, but two sharp-eyed Maryland fisheries biologists; Angel Willey and Allison Luettel, realized that it actually was a scalloped hammerhead,” said Lockwood.
Gill’s catch eclipsed the previous state record of 194-lbs set by Gregory Garman in 2004.
The 2009 Maryland Fishing Challenge is a great opportunity to search for another very special fish – Diamond Jim! Designed to promote recreational fishing in Maryland, recognize angler efforts and inspire environmental stewardship, the challenge began Friday, May 29th and runs through Labor Day, September 7, 2009. Diamond Jim is worth $25,000, and more than 145 imposters are still on the loose, which are worth $500 each if caught. To learn more about the 2009 Maryland Fishing Challenge, visit http://dnr.maryland.gov/fishingchallenge/.