Clayton Lambert had not given much thought over the years about his near-state-record fish — until his 12-year-old son, Colton, caught a fish that qualified for one.
More than three decades after the elder Lambert's crappie came up 4 ounces short of a Maryland record, his son's 11-pound, 6-ounce largemouth bass broke Rodney Cockrell's nearly 30-year-old record of 11 pounds, 2 ounces.
Colton Lambert, a seventh-grader from Huntingtown in Calvert County, was among four anglers honored for their state records at last Saturday's Maryland Fishing Challenge in Annapolis.
Recalling the July 31 catch he made in the Huntington Farm Pond while fishing with his father and younger brother a few miles away from their house, Colton Lambert said he initially thought his line had become snagged on a rock.
"Then, all of a sudden, the fish swooped in the air and came right in [the boat]," Colton said.
After having the fish weighed and verified as a record by state officials, Clayton Lambert had it mounted. It will be hung in the family room, the elder Lambert said.
The state record fish that Bob Purcell, of Bishopville in Worcester County, caught south of Ocean City back on Sept. 12, 2012, experienced a far different fate. The 54-year-old builder and his friends shared the 20-pound blueline tilefish that came just 4 ounces short of being a world record.
"I wanted to eat it. It's good to eat; it tastes like lobster," Purcell said at the Fishing Challenge.
A year ago, Purcell briefly held the state record for snowy grouper. But the 56-pounder he caught was eclipsed a week later by a 66-pounder hauled in by Gregory Benn at Purcell's favorite fishing spot — Norfolk Canyon.
The other two new state record holders are Fred Brungart of York, Pa., who caught a 24-pound Atlantic cod on May 31, 38 miles southeast of the Ocean City inlet. Dan Thomas, of Delmar in Wicomico County, caught a 13-pound, 5-ounce Sheepshead on Sept. 16, 2012, in Hoopers Strait.
Clayton Lambert said there's only one problem when a young angler like his son breaks a state record.
"He now thinks he's going to catch a state record every time," the elder Lambert said.