Dorchester angler nabs record Longnose Gar

Submitted to Dorchester Banner/DNR, Doug Ruth
Samson Matthews displays his record longnose gar.

DORCHESTER — A Hurlock fisherman is the new Maryland state Chesapeake Division record holder for longnose gar, with a catch that weighed 18.3 pounds.

Samson Matthews, 22, was fishing for blue catfish with a friend March 2 near El Dorado Bridge along Marshyhope Creek. After about 10 minutes of fishing in 20 feet of water with small chunks of gizzard shad as bait, Mr. Matthews felt a strong pull, a tight line, and lots of thrashing.

“I didn’t even know what it was at first,” he said. After pulling the fish into the boat, both anglers knew they had a potential record breaker.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologists certified the species as longnose gar — Lepisosteus osseus — a prehistoric fish distinguished by its long nose and hard scales. The catch was officially weighed at Kool Ice and Seafood in Cambridge, which confirmed the fish narrowly beat the 2019 record held by David Confair.

After the weighing, Matthews released his record longnose gar back into Marshyhope Creek.

Maryland 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.