Chicopee man catches record size fish in ConnecticutCHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – After an hour and a half battle with a Cobia fish off the coast of Connecticut, Chicopee resident John Bertolasio is now the new record keeper in the state for catching the saltwater fish.
Bertolasio was fishing on Long Sand Shoal on August 13 when all of a sudden he got a hit on his line. The fish put up quite the fight, even snapping his fishing pole in half once the fish got closer to the boat. At first sight, he thought it was a shark he had just caught, but it turned out to be a Cobia and he decided to keep it.
Connecticut Fisheries and Wildlife have officially added Bertolasio to the state’s Exotic Marine Species Record list. The Cobia officially weighed 43 pounds and was 56″ in length.
Bertolasio talked to 22News about the catch, who still can’t believe what he caught, “When I got it clear to the boat, I saw it… this big brown fish. It just went straight down, I couldn’t even hold the pole, and then it snapped, the pole snapped. I thought I lost it but it was still on. The biggest fish I ever caught, I couldn’t hold it up it was so heavy. Whenever I catch a fish I get so happy I start singing!”
LOCATION: Long Sand Shoal
Long Sand Shoal, CT
- American Shad: 11 lbs, 4 oz. (32 inches) – Caught in the Connecticut River by Bob Thibodo in 1986
- Bowfin: 9 lbs, 10 oz. (29.25 inches) – Caught in the Taunton River by Andrew Langley in 2020
- Broodstock Salmon: 22 lbs, 15 oz. (36 inches) – Caught in Mattawa Lake, Orange by Donald Savoy in 1997
- Brook Trout: 10 lbs (23 inches) – Caught in Ashfield Lake, Ashfield by Peter Harand in 2008
- Brown Trout: 19 lbs, 10 oz. (31 inches) – Caught in Wachusett Reservoir by Dana Deblois in 1966
- Bullhead: 6 lbs, 4 oz. (23 inches) – Caught in Forest Lake, Methuen by Roger Aziz, Jr. in 2008
- Carp: 46 lbs, 5 oz. (42 inches) – Caught in Quinsigamond Lake, Shrewsbury by Shane Felch in 2012
- Chain Pickerel: 9 lbs, 5 oz. – Caught in Laurel Lake, Lee by Mrs. James Martin in 1954
- Channel Catfish: 26 lbs, 8 oz. (35 inches) – Caught in Ashfield Lake, Ashfield by Dana Dodge in 1989
- Crappie: 4 lbs, 10 oz. – Caught in Jake’s Pond, Plymouth by James Crowley in 1980
- Lake Trout: 25 lbs, 7 oz. (33 inches) – Caught in Quabbin Reservoir by William Roy in 2016
- Landlocked Salmon: 10 lbs, 2 oz. (29 inches) – Caught in Wachusett Reservoir by Richard Gagne in 1985
- Largemouth Bass: 15 lbs, 8 oz. (28 inches) – Caught in Sampson Pond, Carver by Walter Bolonis in 1975
- Northern Pike: 35 lbs (47 inches) – Caught in Quacumquasit Pond, Brookfield by Don Greenwood, Jr. in 1988
- Rainbow Trout: 13 lbs, 13 oz. (28 inches) – Caught in Wachusett Reservoir by Jeffrey Greco in 1999
- Smallmouth Bass: 8 lbs, 2 oz. (22 inches) – Caught in Wachusett Reservoir by Barbara Sasen in 1991
- Sunfish: 2 lbs, 1 oz. (12 inches) – Caught in South Athol Pond, Athol by Heather Bulger in 1982
- Tiger Muskellunge: 27 lbs (46 inches) – Caught in Pontoosuc Lake, Pittsfield by James Lambert in 2001
- Tiger Trout: 9 lbs, 7 oz. (26 inches) – Caught in Peter’s Pond, Sandwich by Michael Shelton in 2004
- Walleye: 11 lbs (30 inches) – Caught in Quabbin Reservoir by Robert Methot in 1973
- White Catfish: 9 lbs, 3 oz. (26 inches) – Caught in Baddacook Pond, Groton by Michael Payne in 1987
- White Perch: 3 lbs, 8 oz. (18 inches) – Caught in Wachusett Reservoir by Val Percuoco in 2016
- Yellow Perch: 2 lbs, 12 oz. (17 inches) – Caught in South Watuppa Pond, Fall River by James O’Conner in 1979
State record for largest freshwater fish ever caught (catch & release records):
- American Shad: 25.00 inches – Caught in Chicopee River, Granby by Paul Beauchesne, Jr. in 2017
- Bowfin: 32.00 inches – Caught in Oxbow Pond, Easthampton by David DeSimone in 2021
- Brook Trout: 20.75 inches – Caught in Swift River, Belchertown by David DeSimone in 2021
- Brown Trout: 32.00 inches – Caught in Littleville Reservoir, Huntington by David DeSimone in 2020
- Bullhead: 21.50 inches – Caught in Stiles Pond, Oxford by Roger Aziz, Jr. in 2021
- Carp: 44.00 inches – Caught in Connecticut River, South Hadley by Kenneth Langdon in 2021
- Chain Pickerel: 28.75 inches – Caught in Leverett Pond, Leverett by David Desimone in 2020
- Channel Catfish: 34.50 inches – Caught in Connecticut River, Easthampton by Jason Montanez in 2020
- Channel Catfish: 34.50 inches – Caught in Connecticut River, Hatfield by Kenneth Langdon in 2020
- Crappie: 18.25 inches – Caught in Lashaway Lake, North Brookfield by Matthew Menard in 2019
- Crappie: 18.25 inches – Caught in Putnamville Reservoir, Danvers by Thomas Melanson in 2020
- Lake Trout: 34.00 inches – Caught in Wachusett Reservoir by David Desimone in 2020
- Landlocked Salmon: 27.25 inches – Caught in Quabbin Reservoir by Gary Morin in 2018
- Largemouth Bass: 25.00 inches – Caught in Mashpee-Wakeby Pond, Mashpee by John Gonsalves in 2017
- Largemouth Bass: 25.00 inches – Caught in Mashpee-Wakeby Pond, Mashpee by Dylan Towne in 2018
- Largemouth Bass: 25.00 inches – Caught in White Pond, Concord by Tracy Como-Bowe in 2018
- Northern Pike: 45.50 inches – Caught in Onota Lake, Pittsfield by Ashley DePaoli in 2017
- Northern Pike: 45.50 inches – Caught in Onota Lake, Pittfield by Craig Strong in 2021
- Rainbow Trout: 27.25 inches – Caught in Swift River, Belchertown by David DeSimone in 2021
- Smallmouth Bass: 23.50 inches – Caught in Wachusett Reservoir by Zachary Aquino in 2020
- Sunfish: 13.00 inches – Caught in Wrights Reservoir, Westminster by Griffin Sabolevski in 2021
- Tiger Muskellunge: 34.00 inches – Caught in Pontoosuc Lake, Lanesborough by David DeSimone in 2021
- Tiger Trout: 25.50 inches – Caught in Ashfield Pond, Ashfield by David DeSimone in 2021
- Walleye: 29.50 inches – Caught in Connecticut River, Holyoke by Michael Taylor in 2018
- Walleye: 29.50 inches – Caught in Connecticut River, Turners Falls by Jason Wingrove in 2018
- White Catfish: 26.50 inches – Caught in Connecticut River, Turners Falls by Benjamin Halkett in 2015
- White Perch: 18.00 inches – Caught in Wachusett Reservoir, West Boylston by Prince Dukuly in 2018
- Yellow Perch: 16.50 inches – Caught in Coonamessett Pond, Falmouth by Peter Brundrett in 2015
- Yellow Perch: 16.50 inches – Caught in Long Pond, Plymouth by Mark Mohan, Jr. in 2016
If you catch a fish and think it’s record-worthy, report it to MassWildlife! To report a catch-and-release fish, take a picture of the fish next to a measuring device, such as a tape measure. In order to qualify, fishers must have a fishing license, the fish must be caught in Massachusetts water, must be caught on hook and line, and must be measured at the site of capture with a clear view of the fish flat on its side.
To report a catch-and-keep fish, bring your fish to a certified weigh station. In order to qualify, fishers must have a fishing license, the fish must be caught in Massachusetts water, must be caught on hook and line, and must be weighed on a scale certified by the Massachusetts Division of Standards. Any fish submitted must be dead and a photograph of the fish on its side next to a measuring device must be included.
It’s very important to follow all the rules in order to qualify. Full rules can be found on the MassWidlife website.
The state also keeps a yearly record list of the largest freshwater fish caught. you can submit your fish to those records the same way. At the end of the year, awards are given to fishers that meet certain requirements. A bronze pin is given to anyone that catches a fish that meets minimum length or weight requirements. Fishers that catch the longest or largest fish in a category are given a gold pin and a plaque.
Cobia are often misidentified as sharks due to their close appearance. They are the closest living relative to the remora (shark sucker). Cobia are the only members of the Rachycentridae family in North America and can reach six feet in length and live up to 12 years.
According to Connecticut Fish and Wildlife, Cobia are becoming more common in the Long Island Sound due to climate change. The fish are usually found more south.