BIG CATCH: Md. man catches record snakehead fish in Potomac River

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WASHINGTON -- A Maryland man has set the state record for catching the largest snakehead fish in the Potomac River.

Todd Murphy is an avid fisherman and he caught a 17.47-pound northern snakehead in Mattawoman Creek off the Potomac River in Charles County.

He was bowfishing here this past weekend near Marbury when it caught his eye.

"I saw him and I swung the front of the boat around to where I could get a better shot," Murphy said. "When I shot him, he instantly took off down into the grass and buried himself in the grass, so I couldn't see him. I could just tell he was a good size and had plenty of power."

He didn't realize what he had at first.

"Once I got him in and looked at him and got him the cooler, I went along and about an hour later, I started thinking that's a big fish in that cooler," said Murphy. "I'm going to have to weigh that thing when I get back to the truck with my scale."

He knew the snakehead was heavy, but it was the Maryland Department of Natural Resources that confirmed the record-size fish. They even thanked him on Twitter for his help in lowering the population of the invasive species.

If you want to try your hand at catching one, Murphy has some advice.

"If you catch one, do not put your hand in their mouth," he said. "I have caught some on hook and line before that has kind of chomped at me like they were trying to attempt to bite me."

Where is this large vicious looking fish now?

"Wrapped up in the freezer and he will be going a buddy of mine, Chad Wells, in Baltimore at the Alewife," said Murphy.

Snakeheads are a problem in the area. At one time, they were contained to a pond in Crofton, Maryland, but have found their way into many of the local waterways including the Potomac River.

Natural Resources officials encourage anyone who catches one to kill it to prevent it from preying on native fish.