May 25, 2014

DEC announces first state-record fish for 2014

The record for catching the largest inland striped bass in New York state was recently broken, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced this week.

Eric Lester of Campbell Hall caught a 60-pound female striped bass measuring 53.4 inches in length and 33 inches in girth from the Hudson River in Newburgh, Orange County, on May 14.

The new record surpassed the former record of 55 pounds, 6 ounces, set in 2007.

“This is a remarkable new record catch,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a press release. “I congratulate Mr. Lester on his success and determination in catching the largest recorded inland Striped Bass in New York and encourage others to take advantage of the many outstanding fishing opportunities New York has to offer.”

Lester knew he had a big fish on when a comedy of errors ensued as he fished alone May 14 on Newburgh Bay.

As the fish fought, the reel came off his rod; he managed a quick fix only to find the line tangled around his prop, according to the release.

DEC biologists estimated the fish to be at least 20 years old.

Lester submitted details of his winning fish as part of DEC’s Angler Achievement Awards Program, which tracks state record fish.

Through this program, anglers can enter freshwater fish that meet specific qualifying criteria and receive official recognition of their catch and a distinctive lapel pin commemorating their achievement. The three categories that make up the program are: Catch & Release, Annual Award and State Record.

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