Home > Outdoor > Hunt & Fish

After ‘A Very Long Fight,’ Retiree Reels in Record Rainbow Trout for Maryland

The record-breaking fish is more than 3 pounds heavier than the previous record established in 1987.

Record Breaking Rainbow Trout(Photo/Jean-Philippe Lartigue)
Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

A French resident of Maryland has broken a 37-year-old record for the biggest rainbow trout ever caught in the state.

Jean-Philippe Lartigue of Bethesda is now the official state record holder for rainbow trout in the nontidal division, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced in a press release this week. On Feb. 10, Lartigue caught a monster fish — a 17.44-pound, 32-inch monster, to be exact — in the section of Antietam Creek running through Devil’s Backbone County Park in Washington County. 

But, what did he use to land this giant specimen? Lartigue relied on a 12-foot crappie-style rod, spinning reel, 8-pound test monofilament line, a small split-shot weight, and a No. 8 hook baited with a natural worm bait.

Jean-Philippe Lartigue with his record-breaking catch; (photo/Jean-Philippe Lartigue)

“I knew the fish was a very large trout, but I did not see how big it was at the beginning of the fight,” Lartigue said. “I finally saw the fish, and it made two very long runs to the opposite side of the creek and was hard to move. I also had to keep the fish away from some bridge abutments, which could have cut the line easily. … After a very long 30-minute fight, I was able to tire out the fish and grabbed it by the jaw with my fingers since I did not have a landing net large enough.” 

After eventually tiring out his catch, Lartigue hauled it onto a rocky bank, cutting his finger from the fish’s teeth.

A Moroccan Childhood

Lartigue, an avid angler, worked as a fisheries biologist consulting with governments in Africa before he retired and settled in Maryland, according to the press release. A Frenchman, Lartigue grew up in Morocco, where he learned from his father a European style of fishing using natural baits with long rods. The long rod can help control the drift and presentation of natural baits in swift stream currents.

His catch shatters the previous record of a 14.2-pound trout caught by Dave Schroyer on October 21, 1987. 

“We are extremely impressed by the weight of the fish, which bests the old record by over 3 pounds, a record that many of us in the department thought would never be broken,” Recreational Fisheries Outreach Coordinator Erik Zlokovitz said in the release.

The Department of Natural Resources maintains state records for sport fish in four divisions: Atlantic, Chesapeake, Nontidal, and Invasive. Anglers who think they have a potential record catch should download and complete a state record application and call 443-569-1398. The department recommends the fish be immersed in ice water to preserve its weight until an official can check, confirm, and certify it.

Utah fishing record

A Big Year for Utah Fishermen: 11 State Records Set in 2022

Fishermen caught record-breaking fish in several categories, including catch-and-release, catch-and-keep, and spearfishing, wildlife officials said this week. Read more…

Subscribe Now

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!

Join Our GearJunkie Newsletter

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!