Fisherman loses state record after questions

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July 8, 2003

Fisherman loses state record after questions raised about his catch

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A man recently cited for catching a record-setting fish has been stripped of the honor due to several irregularities, marking the first time that state officials have rescinded such a record.

Walter Frankowski of Pemberton Township told the State Department of Environmental Protection that he had caught a 53-inch, 160-pound black drum while fishing from a boat in Delaware Bay on May 15.

DEP officials later declared that Frankowski's fish had broken the state record by 55 pounds, but they soon received a tip that Frankowski had weighed the fish in a cooler full of ice on a truck scale with a 40-pound margin of error. They also learned that the license of the weighmaster who validated the fish had expired and that he had not witnessed the weigh in.

Frankowski denied acting improperly, but admits he should have had the fish officially weighed in before making his claim. Jack Kaskey, a DEP spokesman who announced the agency's decision on Monday, said it was the first time that such a record has ever been revoked.

In making their decision, officials noted that when the fish was placed on an official scale at Barnegat Light firm on May 16, it only weighed 81 pounds, or 24 pounds short of the 105-pound mark.

"It was a beautiful fish, and congratulations to him, but don't continue to fabricate a record when it isn't."
 

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