New state record for northern snakehead

 

Bobby Smith holds his Delaware State Record Northern Snakehead. It weighed 12 pounds, 12 ounces. (Submitted photo)

SEAFORD — Bobby Smith has a new state record.

It wasn’t the bass he was hoping he would catch, but rather a beast of a northern sakehead.

The state of Delaware recently confirmed his catch of the invasive species at 12 pounds, 12 ounces.

This is the first year Delaware has added the northern snakehead to its sport fishing tournament, and anglers can now get a citation or possibly a new record with no limitation on weight or size.

Smith does a lot of tournament fishing for bass. I met him at the Delmarva Outdoors Expo, and it turns out he is also a nephew of Harry Aiken, Delaware’s original surf caster champion.

Smith recounted the tale of his April catch.

“A friend and I decided to head out to the Nanticoke River,” he said. “I always like to hit the low tide so we went around 5 in the evening for the outgoing part of the tide. We started off in the Blades Marina where we caught several nice large mouth bass and a couple big ones pushing six pounds.

“We then decided to leave that area and proceed up toward the Concord branch of the Upper Nanticoke. We caught several more good-sized bass. It was clearly going to be one of those special nights. Between my buddy and I, we figured our five best bass would have weighed around 21 to 22 pounds — almost unheard of around here.

“After that we went to our final destination.”

It was in area behind Nanticoke Hospital in Seaford.

“We entered the area and had already caught a couple good-sized bass,” said Smith. “Then I decided to throw over to the lily pads next to flat. My line ticked really hard. I had a feeling it was a good one. I set the hook and a huge wake came up. It only took a second for me to realize this wasn’t a bass.

“My Elite series seven-foot medium fast action St Croix rod was bent over. We saw that it was a huge snakehead. Bigger than any I had seen around here before. The fish really put up a fight. It went around the boat several times and made several runs before finally giving up. I really had to fight it. I was fishing a Yammamoto senko rigged wacky style with seven pound FC sniper flourocarbon line.

“Once I finally landed the huge snakehead we decided that was a perfect ending to an unbelievable night of fishing. The fish was weighed in at Taylor Tackle shop in Seaford at 12 pounds, 12 ounces.”

Northern snakehead fish are an invasive species and most likely are here to stay.

Some anglers prefer to catch these fish over any freshwater species. The fight they put up is nothing short of epic.

There are still some big snakeheads in our waters. If you decide to turn one in for a citation, you have to kill it before you can legally transport it anywhere. You are also allowed to catch and release these fish, though DNREC would prefer they be killed due to the fact they are an invasive species.

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