CAMENDTON — Gene Swope was hoping to snag a big paddlefish while fishing with grandsons Garron and Jason. The trio of anglers were fishing at the Lake of Ozarks in south central Missouri when they felt something big tug on the line.
A tough 35 minutes later, Swope had landed a 4-foot, 8-inch bighead carp that weighed a whopping 106-pounds. It took all three fishermen to pull the catch in.
The monster catch is a new Missouri state record for a “alternative method” catch. The previous record was 80 pounds. Had the fish been traditionally hooked in the mouth and not snagged, it would have eclipsed the International Game Fish Association’s world record by 16 pounds.
An invasive species and not recognized as a sportfish, hauling in the big fish from Missouri waters is bittersweet moment for state Fisheries Programs Specialist Andrew Branson.
“Bighead carp are an invasive Asian species. This is an example of how invasive species can thrive outside of their native environment, and the importance of preventing their spread. At least anglers are removing some of these from the lake, and that’s good news.”
The species are not known to successfully spawn in lakes or ponds as they need a current to suspend their eggs in water in development.
One way species like big head carp find their way to lakes and pond are as released bait fish. Anglers should avoid throwing their unused minnows into the areas they’re fishing as it’s possible for a few invasive fish to get mixed in with other native species. Any unused minnows should thrown away.