Fay Ganster, a native of Reading, Pennsylvania, has been officially recognized by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as the new state record holder for the Atlantic Division with an 18-pound smooth dogfish shark. She caught the fish off the coast of Ocean City.
She made the record-breaking catch on Oct 22. At the time, she was with her husband.
Ganster, a frequent vacationer to the coastal town, booked a shark charter trip with her husband months in advance. But, unfortunately, the fishing trip got canned due to bad weather. Then, at the last minute, Captain John Forman of the Bottom Bouncer fishing charter boat called the couple to give them the green light to go fishing.
After four to five hours of fishing near the Isle of Wight shoal, Ganster managed to reel in a few bluefish and sea bass. Then, she cast again using a chunk of cut bluefish as bait. However, her luck would change this time when she hooked her record catch. According to Ganster, it took about 20 minutes to reel the fish in and “was a little bit of a battle.”
After they were able to get the dogfish on the boat, Ganster was able to etch her name into the Maryland state record books.
Angler reels in record-breaking dogfish shark, hadn’t been fishing in 12 years
“I haven’t been shark fishing in about 12 years,” Ganster admitted in a statement with the Department of National Resources. “This is really cool…this is a big deal.”
The fish’s weight was later officially certified at Sunset Marina in Ocean City. In addition, a Maryland DNR biologist confirmed the catch.
The smooth dogfish (also known as Mustelus canis) is a member of the shark family. These species typically swim together in packs or schools. Additionally, anglers can catch the smooth dogfish year-round, and there are no daily limits for anglers or vessels.
The Maryland department also maintains state records for sport fish in four divisions: Atlantic, Chesapeake, Nontidal, and Invasive. It also awards plaques to anglers who achieve record catches.
Anglers who believe they have a potential record catch should download and fill out the state record application and call 443-569-1381 or 410-260-8325.
In addition, the department recommends the fish be put in ice water to preserve their weight until officials can come out to check, confirm, and certify it.
Recently, disgraced fishermen Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky, accused of packing weights into fish in an attempt to win nearly $30,000 at a fishing tournament, pleaded not guilty in court.
The two were recently indicted after officials found that their fish had been stuffed with lead weights and fish fillets. The discovery later sparked an uproar in the fishing community.