Berks County teen catches state record-breaking white perch

CHESTER, Pa. - A 19-year-old from Berks County had a historic fishing day with his father this spring, according to a statement released Friday by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Christopher Barrett and his father were fishing in the Delaware River below Chester County’s Commodore Barry Bridge at around 11 a.m. on April 14 when Barrett reeled in a state record-breaking white perch five ounces heavier than the previous record holder.

While the two were using bloodworms to lure Striped Bass and catfish, the perch that Barrett pulled in instead immediately piqued their interest.

"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 next morning, Barrett and Waterways Conservation Officer Derrick Norman coordinated an official weigh-in using the Bowmansville Post Office’s certified scale, where the perch cemented the state record at 2 pounds, 1 ounce.

The contents of the fish’s stomach were also examined, and although it was pregnant, it was determined to be normal for a large female white perch. Barrett said he was fortunate that the fish he found had the perfect qualities for his record-breaking feat.

"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."

Barret said that once his record is certified, he will give the fish to a taxidermist to preserve his memorable fishing moment.

"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."