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Angler Catches Record Bullhead Catfish in Baltimore County

A Baltimore City angler has been awarded the Maryland state non-tidal fishing record for catching a 4.9-pound bullhead catfish.

Nick Palese, 32, caught the bullhead catfish May 18 along Big Gunpowder Falls in Baltimore County.

The lifelong angler was kayak fishing for largemouth bass in about five feet of water when he got a strong bite. Palese thought at first he’d caught the “bass of a lifetime.” After fighting with the fish more than three minutes, he hauled in a bullhead catfish. Palese said several onlookers admired his catch telling him it was “the biggest bullhead they’d ever seen.”

Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologists and Conrad’s Seafood Market certified the bullhead catfish tipping the scales at 4.94 pounds, beating the 3.6-pound record held by Zelijko Korectic since 2007.

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 for consideration.

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