A 24-year-old St. Mary’s County man is now the official state record holder for the warmouth in Maryland’s nontidal waters. Avid angler Dezi Collins of Mechanicsville reeled in his record 10.72 ounce catch June 11 at Gilbert Run Lake in Charles County.

Collins, along with a few friends, were fishing for black bass when something unusual hit his 5-inch Senko plastic worm. “This thing really had some weight,” he said.

Biologists from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources verified the species and its weight was certified by Thompson’s Seafood. The catch beats the previous 9.76-ounce record held since 2009 by Don Perantoni.

The warmouth, or lepomis gulosus, looks similar to a rock bass and is a member of the sunfish family.

Collins kept his record fish alive and plans to release it back into Gilbert Run Lake. “I’m not greedy — I’d love for someone to experience this, too,” Collins said.

The department 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 by staff.

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