Teen Angler Sets New Pennsylvania Record with Giant White Perch

Christopher Barrett, White PerchSubmitted Image

HARRISBURG, PA — On a crisp April morning, 19-year-old Christopher Barrett set off on a fishing trip with his father, Craig, from Ridley Township Municipal Marina in Delaware County. Little did they know, the day would end with a state record.

The father-son duo navigated through Darby Creek and into the Delaware River below the Commodore Barry Bridge. Using heavy-duty spinning rods with bloodworms as bait, they aimed for Striped Bass and catfish but found themselves reeling in White Perch as well.

Around 11 a.m., Christopher hooked a perch that both he and his father immediately recognized as extraordinary.

“We usually keep a few perch to eat, and when I went to put that one in the cooler, we both said that’s got to be the biggest White Perch we’ve ever seen,” Christopher said.

Once back at the dock, a quick check revealed the previous state record for White Perch was under two pounds. Weighing their catch on a home scale showed it to be 2 pounds, 3 ounces. Excitement surged.

A Tale of Skill, Luck, and Good Timing

The next morning, Christopher contacted the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s (PFBC) Southeast Region Office. Waterways Conservation Officer Derek Norman arranged to meet them at the Bowmansville Post Office, where a certified scale awaited. With Officer Norman present, the White Perch officially weighed in at 2 pounds, 1 ounce, surpassing the prior record by five ounces.

In Pennsylvania, only weight is considered for state record certification. However, this fish measured an impressive 14.125 inches in length and had a girth of 12.25 inches. An inspection revealed it was a large female full of eggs, contributing to its hefty weight.

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“It was a large fish to begin with and it was full of eggs, which made it even heavier,” said Barrett. “We’re pretty good at catching perch, so I guess it was a little bit of skill and luck combined with good timing to catch that fish at just the right time.”

A Father-Son Fishing Adventure to Remember

In addition to the official weigh-in, Christopher completed a state record fish application, including color photographs and detailed information about his record-breaking catch. The PFBC Division of Fisheries Management reviewed and confirmed the new state record.

“I’m so grateful for this record, but even more excited that I got to share this experience with my dad,” Christopher said. “We go fishing all the time together and it’s our favorite thing in the world to do. We’ll never forget this.”

Christopher plans to have the fish preserved by a taxidermist to commemorate the unforgettable catch.

Unlocking Pennsylvania’s Fishing Bounty

This milestone highlights the rich fishing opportunities in Pennsylvania, particularly in the Delaware River, known for producing record-setting fish. It also underscores the value of family bonding through outdoor activities like fishing.

Achievements like Christopher’s can inspire more young people to participate in fishing, fostering a deeper appreciation for nature and conservation. Moreover, maintaining updated records helps track the health and diversity of fish populations across the state.

Reeling in Success: State Records and Fishing Tales

State records not only celebrate individual achievements but also contribute valuable data for fisheries management. These records help scientists understand the growth potential and health of species in specific water bodies.

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For Christopher and his father, this record is a testament to their dedication and love for the sport. For Pennsylvania, it serves as a reminder of the state’s vibrant and thriving natural resources.

As fishing season continues, anglers across the state will be casting their lines with renewed hope and excitement. Who knows? The next record-breaking fish might be just a cast away.

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