OCEAN CITY- Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials this week confirmed a 23-pound tautog caught by a Philadelphia man aboard the “Morning Star” back on January 11 was a new state record for the species.
On January 11, Charles Donohue of Philadelphia caught a 23-pound tautog, which Captain Monty Hawkins and the crew and other anglers aboard the “Morning Star” believed had a shot at being the new state record. The fish, which weighed 23 pounds and was 33 inches long with a girth of 25 inches, took a whole green crab over an artificial reef about 12 miles off the coast of the resort.
Hawkins, who has been running charters off and on throughout the winter out of the Ocean City Fishing Center, said he believed right away Donahue’s tog had a shot at being a state record. The crew and the other anglers on board agreed and the decision was made to run into shore and weigh the fish at Ake Marine in West Ocean City.
“It was a beautiful fish,” said Hawkins. “The whole crew had limited out by 9:30 a.m., showing that the habitat work and reef building have taken this fishery to new heights.”
For his part, Donahue said he wasn’t certain what he had with the 23-pound taug, but soon knew it was something special.
“The fish slammed the bait and the rod went straight down in a tough fight,” he said this week. “I had no idea it was going to be such a big deal. Everyone on the boat was congratulating me and wanting a picture with me and the fish.”
This week, the DNR confirmed the catch, and its place on the record books for Maryland, topping the old mark of 20 pounds, 11 ounces set by Sam Beauchamp in March 2007.