The state of Missouri has been on an absolute heater this year when it comes to pumping out record sized fish. The state has seen 7 state fishing records broken just this year, most recently a kid who broke his dad’s record for a Longear Sunfish.
Earlier today, the Missouri Department of Conservation certified a 125-pound 5-ounce Bighead Carp that was arrowed by Matt Neuling as the new state record. He was bow-fishing with a buddy on Lake Perry south of St. Louis when he hauled in the monster fish.
“I was out with my buddy early that morning when we both shot what we thought was a 30-pound grass carp. My buddy’s arrow pulled out, but mine shot straight through and stayed in there.”
The fish took an additional arrow to immobilize it and it was so hefty that it required both men to lift it into the boat said Neuling.
“If my buddy wasn’t with me, there was no way I could have pulled it out of the water.”
The previous bow-fishing record for the species was 104-pounds and 15-ounces, so the new record shattered that mark. That fish was also arrowed by a bow-fisherman. The state record for Bighead Carp on a rod and reel was caught at the Lake of the Ozarks in 2004 and weighed 80-pounds.
It is Missouri’s 8th record breaking fish of the year. For the fish to become certified as a world record, Neuling will need to register the catch with the International Game Fish Association, but the fish is large enough to qualify for the top spot.
“It’s just crazy. You know, I set that goal of breaking a record every time I go out to fish, but I never would have thought I’d be breaking a record with this fish.”
A fisheries specialist with the Department of Conservation estimates that the fish more than a decade old.
“When fish get this size, we estimate it to be at least 10-years-old. Bighead carp are an invasive fish from Asia. This particular fish is an example of just how well an invasive species can thrive if given the opportunity. We encourage people to harvest these fish to help remove them from our waters.”
Bighead Carp are native to southern and central China, but now inhabit much of the southern Mississippi River basin. They are considered invasive in the U.S., and their populations are spreading rapidly amidst growing concern that they’re pushing native species out and ruining aquatic ecosystems.
The fish are eaten throughout much of the world, but then are not popular table-fare in the U.S. Lack of interest in eating them is part of the reason their populations have grown so fast without being kept in check by fishermen. Even though they’re not a preferred species for people looking to eat what they catch, they are very under rated in that regard.
While bow-fishing is the most common way to catch Bighead Carp, they can be caught on rods and reels. Similar to the silver carp, they have a unique bone structure in their fillets so they must be cleaned slightly different from other fish. For more information on targeting Bighead Carp for the table, check out the video below.
The Show Me State has a strong fishing culture. The world leader in the fishing industry, Bass Pro Shops, is headquartered in Springfield, Missouri and the surrounding area offers incredible fishing opportunities.
The sale of fishing licenses directly funds the protection and enhancement of public boat ramps, aquatic environments, and fish populations in all 50 states.
It also protects you from potentially being fined, having your gear confiscated, and/or losing your fishing privileges. It’s important to remember that just because you have a fishing license in one state, that does not mean it is valid in another state.
And as always, please fish responsibly and save the whiskey until after you’re off the water.