Father-son fishing trip yields record-breaking White Perch in Delaware River

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission recently announced that it has certified a new state record White Perch.

On the morning of Sunday, April 14, 2024, angler Christopher Barrett, 19, and his father, Craig, both of Mohnton, Berks County, departed from Ridley Township Municipal Marina in Delaware County on a 20-foot center console fishing boat. After navigating Darby Creek, the pair entered the Delaware River and began fishing just below the Commodore Barry Bridge, near Chester. Christopher and his father were using heavy duty spinning rods fitted with fish finder rigs and circle hooks baited with bloodworms to target Striped Bass and catfish but were also catching White Perch.

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At around 11 a.m., Barrett reeled in a particularly large perch that caught the attention of both anglers.

Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

“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,” said Barrett. “When we got back to the dock, my dad looked up the state record for Pennsylvania, which was under two pounds. We weighed the fish on our own scale, and it was 2 pounds, 3 ounces. So, we started to get really excited at that point.”

The following morning, Barrett contacted the PFBC’s Southeast Region Office, and Waterways Conservation Officer Derek Norman arranged to meet the angler at the Bowmansville Post Office where a certified scale was located.

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With the WCO present, the White Perch officially tipped the scales at 2 pounds, 1 ounce, exceeding the previous state record, also caught in the Delaware River in 2008, by five ounces. While only weight is considered for state record certification in Pennsylvania, the fish measured 14.125 inches long with a girth of 12.25 inches. An inspection of the fish was also conducted, including an examination of the contents of its stomach, which appeared normal for a large female White Perch.

“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.”

In addition to recording the certified weight and the in-person inspection by WCO Norman, Barrett completed a state record fish application which included color photographs and detailed information about the catch, which was reviewed by the PFBC Division of Fisheries Management and confirmed.

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

Barrett said following the certification of the new state record White Perch, he planned to give the fish to a taxidermist to preserve the memory of the catch.

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