A Dorchester County man set a state record for catching a 17.9-pound longnose gar. Secretary resident David Confair, 44, caught the fish Jan. 23 a few miles above the historic Brookview Bridge along Marshyhope Creek.
An experienced angler, Confair and a friend went fishing there after hearing reports of massive blue catfish. After just a few hours into their trip, Confair felt something unusual tug his line. “Get the net,” Confair yelled to his friend. “This is a big fish.”
Instead of a catfish, it was a longnose gar, a fish that dates to prehistoric times and can grow up to 6 feet long. Maryland Department of Natural Resources staff verified the species, and Kool Ice and Seafood Company in Cambridge certified the fish’s official weight. Confair’s catch surpassed the state’s previous record holder, Justin Kelly, who caught a 17-pound longnose gar in the Potomac River back in 2011.
Confair kept his catch alive for more than two days and released it back into the creek after the record was certified. “It deserves to live,” Confair said. “I’m hoping to set a bigger record. I know there are bigger ones, I’ve seen them.”
Maryland maintains state records 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.
Anglers who think they have a potential record catch should fill-out the state record application and call 443-569-1381 or 410-260-8325. The department suggests the fish be immersed in ice water to preserve its weight until it can be checked, confirmed and certified.