Discover the Largest Fish Ever Caught in Maryland

Written by Jesse Elop
Published: October 4, 2023
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Maryland is home to incredible wildlife both on land and in water. The mighty Potomac River, the beautiful Chesapeake Bay, and the never-ending expanse of the Atlantic Ocean are some of the many bodies of water that these animals inhabit. This article will investigate the greatest among them by revealing the largest catch ever for 17 different Maryland fish species. Here are the largest fish ever caught in Maryland.

Key Points

SpeciesRecord Weight (lbs) in Maryland
Blue Marlin1,135.0
White Marlin135.0
Tiger Shark1,210.0
Blacktip Shark193.0
Blue Shark280.0
Great White Shark467.0
Dusky Shark469.0
Scalloped Hammerhead Shak266.5
Sandbar Shark235.0
Smooth Hammerhead Shark375.0
Sand Tiger Shark334.0
Thresher Shark642.0
Mako Shark876.0
Bigeye Tuna375.5
Bluefin Tuna625.0
Yellowfin Tuna236.5
Swordfish393.0

Background

Catch and release fishing is a common practice among fishermen in Maryland. A catfish just caught is seen on a hook painfully struggling to escape with water dripping. Sunset sky is in background.

Catfish

are a popular fish to wrangle in Maryland.

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Maryland boasts a diverse range of fish species, making it a popular destination for anglers of all kinds. Whether you prefer freshwater or saltwater fishing, there’s something for everyone in the state’s waters. Let’s explore some of the prominent fish species found in Maryland’s various fishing locations.

Fish in Maryland Rivers

There are several fish species in Maryland rivers. In the Potomac River, anglers can target a variety of species. One of the most sought-after fish is the striped bass. These powerful and delicious fish put up challenging fights and are a staple catch in the Potomac. Additionally, anglers can find blue catfish, channel catfish, and white perch in the Potomac’s waters.

smallmouth vs largemouth bass
Smallmouth and largemouth bass both live in Maryland.

Moving to Maryland’s other major rivers like the Patuxent and Nanticoke, you’ll discover a mix of freshwater species. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are popular catches, offering exciting battles and an opportunity for trophy-sized fish. The northern pike also lives in these waters, providing an extra challenge for those looking to test their skills.

Fish in the Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay is a treasure trove of saltwater fishing opportunities. One of the most iconic species here is the blue crab. It is not only sought after for its delicious meat but also plays a significant role in Maryland’s culinary culture. The bay also offers an abundance of striped bass, white perch, and various flounder species like the summer flounder and southern flounder.

Fish off the Atlantic Coast

Off the Atlantic coast of Maryland, anglers can explore a whole different world of saltwater fishing. The waters of the Atlantic Ocean are home to species like black sea bass, Tautog, and various types of mackerel. Offshore adventures can yield catches such as mahi-mahi, wahoo, and even the prized blue marlin for those looking for big-game fishing. There are also several different shark species off Maryland’s coast.

Now, for the largest fish ever caught in Maryland!

Marlin

Blue Marlin: 1,135.0 lbs

Blue Marlin

Blue marlin is one of the most sought-after fish among Maryland anglers.

©kelldallfall/Shutterstock.com

The largest blue marlin ever caught in Maryland was a whopping 1,135 pounds! It was caught on August 20, 2021, by Billy Gerlach 70 miles offshore near Washington Canyon.

The blue marlin is a magnificent and powerful fish known for its impressive size. These giants typically weigh between 200 and 400 pounds but can grow to exceptional sizes well over 1,000 pounds. In North America, blue marlin primarily live in the warm, offshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean, particularly along the eastern seaboard, including locations like Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic coast of the southeastern United States.

White Marlin: 135.0 lbs

White Marlin Out of Water on Hook

This white marlin is jumping out of the water on a fishing hook. These fish are incredibly fast swimmers.

©Neophuket/Shutterstock.com

The largest white marlin ever caught in Maryland was 135 pounds, wrangled in by Brian Gay. It was on his hook on May 16, 2019, in Poorman’s Canyon.

The white marlin, a close relative of the blue marlin, is another prize-winning catch for sport fishing enthusiasts. These sleek and agile fish typically weigh between 50 to 80 pounds, although larger specimens can reach a maximum weight of around 200 pounds. In North America, white marlin are primarily residents of the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, particularly along the eastern seaboard. They are common in regions like the Gulf Stream off the coast of Florida, the Carolinas, and the mid-Atlantic states.

Sharks

Tiger Shark: 1,210.0 lbs

Largest Tiger Shark- Tiger Shark Swimming

For

tiger

sharks, females are typically larger than males.

©Yoshinori/Shutterstock.com

The largest tiger shark in Maryland was an enormous 1,210 pounds! It was reeled in by Grace Czerniak on July 9, 1983, in Ocean City.

Tiger sharks, noticeable by their distinctive tiger-like stripes, are formidable creatures in the world’s oceans. These sharks typically weigh between 850 to 1,400 pounds, although the largest ever was a 3,745-pound behemoth off the coast of Australia. In North America, tiger sharks inhabit the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, primarily along the southeastern and Gulf coasts of the United States. They are frequently in the waters of Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the southern Atlantic states. Tiger sharks have a voracious appetite and broad diet, making them a prized catch among some anglers, but their size and power also demand great respect when encountered in the wild.

Blacktip Shark: 280.0 lbs

Most aggressive sharks - blacktip shark

Blacktip sharks are large and they can also be aggressive.

©Gino Santa Maria/Shutterstock.com

The largest blacktip shark ever caught in Maryland clocked in at 193 pounds. The lucky angler responsible for the catch was Bryan Zysk on August 4, 1991, in Ocean City.

Blacktip sharks, often found along the coastlines of North America, typically weigh around 40 to 60 pounds, although larger individuals can reach up to 90 pounds. The world record is a massive 271 pounds! These sleek and agile predators inhabit the warm, shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the southeastern United States, particularly in states like Florida. Blacktip sharks have distinctive black-tipped fins and are a popular target for anglers.

Blue Shark: 280.0 lbs

Blue shark (Prionace glauca), Faial-Pico Channel, Azores Islands, Portugal

Blue sharks can swim up to 43 miles per hour.

©Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

The record weight for a blue shark in Maryland is 280 pounds. The record was set by Martin Waltman on September 13, 1997, in Ocean City.

Blue sharks, named for their vibrant blue coloration, are a common species in the waters off the eastern coast of North America. They have an average weight of 250 pounds, although larger individuals can reach up to 450 pounds. These fast-swimming sharks often live in the open ocean, particularly in the Atlantic Ocean, from New England down to Florida. Blue sharks have a curious nature and frequently encounter offshore anglers. While they are not typical targets during sport fishing due to their relatively small size, their striking appearance and graceful movements make them a fascinating sight for divers and enthusiasts exploring the Atlantic waters.

Great White Shark: 467.0 lbs

Great white shark close to the surface showing off its huge mouth and sharp teeth

Great white sharks have the largest teeth of any living shark species.

©Vincent Legrand/Shutterstock.com

The largest, most majestic, and most terrifying great white shark ever caught in Maryland was an incredible 467 pounds. It was the prized catch of Jack Holmes on July 1, 1982, in Ocean City.

Great white sharks, often considered the apex predators of the ocean, can be found in the coastal waters of North America, particularly along the western coast. They typically weigh between 1,500 to 2,400 pounds, although the largest recorded individuals have exceeded 5,000 pounds. These formidable creatures are known for their powerful build and distinctive, serrated teeth. Great white sharks live along the east coast of North America in regions like Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Along the North American Pacific coast, great white sharks can be spotted from California to Alaska, with famous gathering spots such as the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco. Their presence in these waters attracts researchers and shark enthusiasts seeking to learn more about these magnificent but elusive giants of the sea.

Dusky Shark: 469.0 lbs

Dusky shark

The world record for a dusky shark weight is 764 pounds.

©Rich Carey/Shutterstock.com

The largest dusky shark in Maryland was 469 pounds! It was reeled in on Jim Liberto’s hook on July 1, 1982, in Ocean City.

Dusky sharks live in the Atlantic waters off the eastern coast of North America. They typically weigh between 400 and 500 pounds, although some individuals can reach a maximum weight of up to 700 pounds. These sharks are commonly found along the southeastern United States, from Florida to North Carolina, inhabiting both inshore and offshore environments. Anglers seek out dusky sharks for their strong fights, but their populations have faced conservation concerns due to overfishing, leading to increased regulations in recent years.

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark: 266.5 lbs

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna lewini)

Scalloped

hammerhead sharks

live up to 30 years.

©Ian Scott/Shutterstock.com

The weight of the heaviest scalloped hammerhead shark in Maryland is 266.5 pounds. This shark was caught on August 8, 2012, in Washington Canyon by Scott Cusick.

Scalloped hammerhead sharks, with their unique hammer-shaped heads, also live in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North America. They typically weigh between 200 to 400 pounds, with some reaching a maximum weight of around 700 pounds. These distinctive sharks inhabit waters along the southeastern United States, from Florida to the Carolinas, and they often encounter divers and anglers exploring the Atlantic coast.

Sandbar Shark: 235.0 lbs

Sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus)

Sandbar sharks are an endangered species.

©Vladimir Wrangel/Shutterstock.com

The Maryland record for sandbar shark weight is 235 pounds. This record was set by Mark Sampson on July 8, 1983, in Ocean City.

Sandbar sharks live in the waters off the eastern coast of North America, including off the coast of Maryland. They typically weigh between 100 and 200 pounds. These sharks inhabit the Atlantic Ocean along the eastern United States, from New England down to Florida, often frequenting the sandy bottoms of coastal bays and estuaries.

Smooth Hammerhead Shark: 375.0 lbs

smooth hammerhead shark

Smooth hammerhead sharks, like this one, are one of the larger hammerhead species, but they are smaller than great hammerhead sharks.

©iStock.com/Alessandro De Maddalena

The largest smooth hammerhead shark ever caught in Maryland was 375 pounds. It was caught by George Wilson Ford on June 17, 2004.

Smooth hammerhead sharks are occasionally found in the waters off the eastern coast of North America. They have a maximum weight of 880 pounds but typically fall between 200 and 400 pounds. While less common than other shark species, they live along the Atlantic coast of the United States, ranging from New England to Florida. Smooth hammerhead sharks are elusive, making them a fascinating but infrequent sighting for divers and anglers exploring the region’s coastal waters.

Sand Tiger Shark: 334.0 lbs

A giant sand tiger shark swims in a cave.

Sand tiger sharks have infamously scary snaggle-tooth grins.

©Stefan Pircher/Shutterstock.com

The record-holding sand tiger shark in Maryland was a massive 334 pounds! It was caught by Billy Leidner on September 8, 1983, in Ocean City.

The menacing sand tiger shark also can be found along the eastern coast of North America. This critically endangered species weighs 190 pounds on average and inhabits the Atlantic Ocean along the eastern United States. Sand tiger sharks have a docile temperament towards divers and are a popular subject for shark enthusiasts and underwater photographers.

Thresher Shark: 642.0 lbs

Common Thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) swimming in Monad Shoal dive site, Malapscua island, Cebu Philippines

Thresher sharks grow slowly and can reach a length of up to 20 feet.

©aspas/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Maryland’s record for thresher shark size is a tremendous 642 pounds. This monster of the sea was wrangled by Brent Applegit in 2009 on June 19th.

Thresher sharks are occasional swimmers in the waters off the eastern coast of North America. They most often weigh between 150 to 400 pounds but can achieve a maximum weight of up to 1,100 pounds. These sharks live along the east coast of North America, including Maryland. Thresher sharks practice an incredible tail-slapping hunting technique and impress anglers with their size and agility.

Mako Shark: 876.0 lbs

The mako shark is one of the fastest fish, and it is considered dangerous to humans because of its speed — it can attack aggressively and quickly. It has even been known to "jump" into fishing boats!

The mako shark is one of the fastest sharks in the world.

©wildestanimal/Shutterstock.com

A colossal mako shark weighing 876 pounds holds the record for largest in Maryland. The impressive angler, Jim Hughes, made the catch on June 9, 2009, in Poorman’s Canyon.

Mako sharks, with their incredible speed and acrobatic displays, race through the waters off the eastern coast of North America. They typically weigh between 200 to 600 pounds, although the largest individuals can reach a maximum weight of over 1,200 pounds. Mako sharks are highly prized by sport fishermen for their challenging fights and are often encountered by those pursuing offshore gamefish in the region.

Tuna

Bigeye Tuna: 375.5 lbs

bigeye tuna

Bigeye tuna are a highly migratory species.

©Anna L. e Marina Durante/Shutterstock.com

The biggest bigeye tuna to be snatched from Maryland waters was 375.5 pounds! It was caught by Cecil Browne on August 26, 1977, in Ocean City.

Bigeye tuna also inhabit the waters off the eastern coast of North America. Weigh 250 pounds on average and have a maximum weight of around 400 pounds. Bigeye tuna inhabit the offshore waters along the eastern United States, from the Gulf of Mexico up to the Mid-Atlantic states. These fish are a popular target for commercial and recreational fishermen alike, with anglers venturing into deep-sea waters to pursue these impressive and delicious pelagic species.

Bluefin Tuna: 625.0 lbs

The record for the largest tuna of any species is held by the Atlantic bluefin tuna.

©iStock.com/LUNAMARINA

The most impressive bluefin tuna ever caught in Maryland was the gigantic 625-pounder reeled in by James Daniels. He made this outstanding catch on August 3, 1975, approximately 45 miles east of Ocean City.

Bluefin tuna, a major asset in the sushi market, live in the waters off the coast of Maryland. They usually weigh between 300 to 1,000 pounds, however, the largest ever caught was 1,496 pounds. These majestic and highly migratory fish are truly iconic giants of the sea.

Yellowfin Tuna: 236.5 lbs

Yellowfin tuna out in the open ocean in crystal clear blue water

The yellowfin tuna grows quickly and only lives up to seven years.

©Al McGlashan/Shutterstock.com

The next large fish caught in Maryland is the record-holding 236.5-pound yellowfin tuna. It was the prized catch of Mark Bennett on September 22, 2002, in Washington Canyon.

Yellowfin tuna can be found in the warm waters of the western Atlantic Ocean, specifically in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of North America. They typically weigh between 30 to 150 pounds, although exceptional specimens can reach a maximum weight of around 400 pounds. These highly migratory fish are a popular target for both commercial and recreational fishermen in the region, with anglers heading to the Gulf of Mexico and the southeastern coast of the United States for the thrill of hooking into these strong and delectable pelagic species.

Other Fish

Swordfish: 393.0 lbs

Fastest Sea Animal: Swordfish

The elusive swordfish can swim up to 50 miles per hour.

©Stock High angle view/Shutterstock.com

The title “Largest Swordfish in Maryland” officially belongs to the 393-pound catch of Jeff Jacobs. This recent feat was on September 23, 2022, in the canyons off the coast of Ocean City.

Swordfish, known for their distinctive long bills and succulent flesh, inhabit the offshore waters of the western Atlantic Ocean, including the eastern coast of North America. They typically weigh between 200 to 600 pounds, although some individuals can reach a maximum weight of over 1,400 pounds. Swordfish are a sought-after catch for both commercial and recreational fishermen, with anglers pursuing these majestic pelagic fish along the eastern seaboard of the United States, from the Gulf of Mexico up to New England. Their powerful swimming abilities and delicious meat make them a desirable and ambitious target in North American waters.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Colin MacDonald/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Jesse Elop is a graduate from the University of Oregon now working at the University of Washington National Primate Research Center. He is passionate about wildlife and loves learning about animal biology and conservation. His favorite animals- besides his pup, Rosie- are zebras, mandrills, and bonobos. Jesse's background in biology and anthropology have supplied him with many fun facts that might just pop up in some of his articles!

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