Delaware has a new state record striped bass, a 52-pounder caught by Ben Smith of Bryn Mar, Pennsylvania that beat the existing record by eight ounces
Smith caught the record while surf fishing at Delaware Seashore State Park. The fish measured 51 inches long and 30 inches in girth.
The weight was certified was measured and weighed using a certified scale at Old Inlet Bait & Tackle in Rehoboth Beach and verified by Sr. Cpl. Douglas Messeck of DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section.
Smith grew up in New Jersey fishing Long Beach Island. “I never set out to set a state record. I go fishing for the love of the outdoors, time with friends and the adventure,” he said. “But I’m ecstatic about catching such a great fish.”
Clark Evans, a surf fishing instructor with Old Inlet, described the challenges Smith faced in landing the record striper. “A striper is known for putting on a big first run, and surviving that first run was the first hurdle,” Evans said. Using the right equipment including a circle hook and fray-resistant braided line instead of more fragile monofilament helped Smith’s battle considerably, especially in the final struggle to wrestle the fish out of the surf. “He did everything right, and even then the odds were stacked against him. I told him, ‘That’s one in a million,’” Evans said.
The former state record of 51 pounds, 8 ounces had been in place since 1978.