A Dorchester County resident has officially been recognized by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for a new state fishing record, Chesapeake Bay Division, for sheepshead.
Daniel Mastronardi, Jr. caught the 14.1-pound record-breaking fish around noon on August 9, 2020, in the lower bay, with peeler crab for bait in about 15 feet of water near the target ship USAS American Mariner. Mastronardi’s catch breaks the 13.73-pound record that was set only three years prior by Deale resident, Dave Alveberg.
Targeting speckled trout and striped bass, 33-year-old Mastronardi said his catch came unexpectedly. “I really had no idea what I had on the line,” he said.
Mastronardi reeled in the record-breaking sheepshead and immediately called his father to check the state’s current state records. He said, “It really was one of the biggest I’ve ever seen.” He plans to have his catch mounted for display.
The sheepshead’s weight was confirmed by Mark Cropper of Kool Ice and Seafood Company in Cambridge.
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 recommends the fish be immersed in ice water to preserve its weight until it can be checked, confirmed, and certified.