Emory (Dutch) Baldwin III from Indian Head, and his regular bow-hunting partner Franklin Shotwell were wrapping up a night of stalking northern snakehead from Baldwin’s boat along the Maryland side of the Potomac River on May 20, when they decided to check the flats near Marshall Hall to see if the blue catfish had moved up into the grass.
According to Baldwin, “Franklin saw the big snakehead, but it was on my side of the boat.”
After quickly aiming his compound bow with a slight adjustment to account for the refracted shadow cast by rail-mounted search lights, he released the arrow and was immediately engaged in a tug of war with an 18.42-pound Maryland record.
The following day, Baldwin brought the fish to Gray Brothers Market in Marbury, where it was weighed on a certified meat scale. Maryland Department of Natural Resources Southern Region Manager Mary Groves later confirmed the species, and the new record was made official.
While state fishing records are normally awarded only for fish caught by rod and reel, Maryland makes an exception for three invasive fish species: northern snakehead, blue catfish and flathead catfish. These species may be caught by any legal recreational harvest method and considered for state record recognition, but only if the fish is dispatched and kept.
The department also includes an Invasive Species Award category in its annual Maryland Fishing Challenge, a year-long promotion of the state’s excellent fishing opportunities. Anglers who register exceptional catches of Angler Award-eligible size receive award certificates.