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Summer of 2008 Yields Several New State Record Fish

September 29, 2008

Fishing in New Jersey continues to get better and better, and this summer was no exception. The warmer months of 2008 brought with them not only prime fishing weather, but also three new state records.

The Carp and Grass carp records for archery both fell to the same angler in the freshwater category, while a new Black Drum record was set for saltwater.

Details on these new state records are as follows.

Grass Carp (archery)

The new state record for Grass Carp was set by Mark Kronyak of Middletown on May 26. The giant fish weighed in at an even 65 pounds overtaking the previous record by 5 pounds 4 ounces.

The fish measured 49 inches in length with a girth of 33.5 inches. Mark took his new state record while fishing in the Delaware River. Photo

The Grass Carp is one of the largest members of the minnow family and is originally native to Siberia and northern China. The body is oblong with moderately large scales, while the head has no scales. They are silver to olive in color

Grass carp can be found in lakes, ponds, and the backwaters of large rivers. They prefer large, slow flowing or standing water bodies with vegetation. In the wild, grass carp spawn on riverbeds in fast-moving rivers. As adults, grass carp are nearly 100 percent herbivorous, feeding on aquatic vegetation.

The grass carp is cultivated in China for food, but was introduced in Europe and the United States for aquatic weed control. In New Jersey, special permits are required for using the grass carp for this purpose.

Carp (archery)

Mark Kronyak took his second record of the season on June 3 also while fishing in the Delaware River. This time his catch weighed in at 43 pounds 14 ounces, eclipsing the previous record by 1 pound 13 ounces.

The big carp measured 42 inches in length and had a girth of 38 inches. Photo

The common carp is a member of the minnow family and can be found in freshwaters throughout New Jersey. Originally native to Asia, carp have long been an important food fish to humans, as well as popular ornamental fishes. Carp have stocky bodies, large scales, and range in color from dark olive bronze on the top of the back to lighter silvery yellow on the belly. The color intensity varies to blend with the color of the water or the habitat background.

Carp are tolerant of a wide variety of conditions, but generally favor large water bodies with slow flowing or standing water and soft bottom sediments. They feed mainly on aquatic insects, crustaceans, annelids, mollusks, plant seeds, aquatic plants and algae. Food is mainly obtained by grubbing in sediments

Black Drum

The biggest record of the year (so far) was set by Nick Henry of Millville in the Black Drum category. Nick was fishing in Delaware Bay on May 29 when he landed a 109-pound black drum – more than 4 pounds heavier than the previous record.

Nick was using a clam as bait and fishing with a custom rod and Shimano reel using 30-pound test line. The giant fish measured 59 inches in length and had a girth of 49.25 inches.

The black drum is found along the Atlantic Coast from New York south through the Gulf States to Mexico. It is a member of the croaker family and is related to the Atlantic croaker, red drum, and spotted seatrout. A characteristic of this family of fish is the ability to produce croaking or drumming sounds with the air bladder, which is the reason for the common names croaker and drum.

Black drum are chunky, high-backed fish with many barbels or whiskers under the lower jaw. Younger fish have four or five dark vertical bars on their sides but these disappear with age. The bellies of older fish are white, but coloration of backs and sides can vary greatly.

Young drum feed on maritime worms, small shrimp and crabs, and small fish. Larger drums eat small crabs, worms, algae, small fish and mollusks.

The Record Fish Program honors the largest species of fish caught in the state. It revolves around a specific list of eligible freshwater and saltwater species, and is based on weight alone (there are no line classes). Scale certification documentation and a weighmaster’s signature are necessary. Other rules apply.

For more information, visit the Record Fish Program webpage at

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Last Updated: September 29, 2008