A muske-WHAT? There’s a new record catch for a Maryland fish with a funny name.
A 33-pound muskellunge was caught from the upper Potomac River last month, a feat the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says is especially impressive because these fish are so hard to catch.
Kyle Mullenix of Hagerstown, Md. caught the 49-inch-long, 33-pound “muskie”, as they’re known, March 2 on the upper Potomac. DNR has since confirmed that is a new nontidal state record, breaking the previous record set in 2017 with a 32.5-pound muskie.
Editor’s Note: We’ve seen it spelled “muskie” or musky”—we’re going with DNR’s “muskie”.
Mullenix is a lifelong angler who has been trying to catch a muskie for decades. They are the largest freshwater fish in Maryland and nicknamed “the fish of ten thousand casts”, with razor-sharp teeth and a high sensitivity to oxygen levels in the water. Field and Stream ranks the muskellunge as one of the top 10 “Nastiest and Hardest Fish to Catch on the Planet”.
Mullenix used a 7-foot spinning rod and live bait to hook his record-breaker. “He put up a good fight, but we didn’t think it was that big until it was on the bank,” Mullenix said. “Things don’t always go as planned, but now life has gotten a lot better.”
Hi catch was weighed on a certified scale by George Rowe at Ernst Country Market in Clear Spring, Md. and a DNR biologist later verified it as a muskellunge, Esox masquinongy.
Biologists were especially interested in measuring the age of this four feet, one inch long fish, so when the fish was taken to a taxidermist, researchers requested a sample of the scales and cleithrum (a large bone above the gills) to study.
Not only is Mullenix now the proud owner of the muskellunge state record, he also holds the first Maryland state fishing record set in 2022.
If you ever think you may have a potential record-breaking catch in Maryland, call 443-569-1381 or 410-260-8325, and immerse the fish in ice water to preserve its weight until it can be confirmed and certified by DNR.
-Meg Walburn Viviano