That’s 65 pounds, 13 ounces, to be precise — an important consideration since state records can be decided by fractions of an ounce. Hunter Whitehead, a bow fisher from Frenchtown, took his gargantuan grass carp in the Delaware River on June 3, 2017. The carp was 48 inches long and had a girth of 36 inches.
To put this fish story in context, the average 9-year-old boy weighs 63 pounds.
Another grass carp holds the record for second-largest freshwater sport fish, a 55-pound, 3-ounce specimen taken by James Dempsey Jr. of Ewing from Curlis Lake in Mercer County. It took him two hours to land the fish, which measured 47 3/4 inches in length and had a 30-inch girth, on May 12, 2011.
Grass carp, as the name suggests, are fond of salads: Common bait includes lettuce, celery, pea pods, watercress, duckweed, pondweed and muskgrass. They’re reputed to be “mighty good eating.”
New Jersey’s Record of Freshwater Fish lists stats for 32 species, from largemouth bass, bluegills and bullheads through perch, pickerel and pike, to sunfish, trout and walleye. A name check of the current list reveals one woman, Carol Marciniak, who landed a 7-pound, 2-ounce smallmouth bass in 1990 at Round Valley Reservoir.