March 09, 2021
When Missouri angler Jesse Hughes felt the big tug on his line while he was catfishing recently on the Osage River, he naturally thought he had hooked a huge whisker fish.
Instead, he caught a 100-pound fish that nobody wants in the Show Me State — literally.
What Hughes caught on March 4 was a 112-pound black carp, an invasive species similar in appearance to the common grass carp which is listed on the state's Prohibited Species List. In other words, invasive black carp "may not be imported, exported, transported, sold, purchased, or possessed alive in Missouri without written approval of the director," the Missouri Department of Conservation said in a news release.
Anybody who catches a black carp, or any prohibited fish species, should notify the MDC asap.
There is no category for 112-pound black carp on Missouri's list of state fishing records, by the way.
Black carp, which eat mussels and snails, are from Asia and can severely damage native populations of mollusks, some of which are endangered. Researchers believe black carp, which were introduced to control problematic snail populations in commercial fisheries and were thought to be sterile, may have established breeding populations in the U.S.
They have been found in the Mississippi River system, including the Osage, where about 30 carp reportedly escaped from a fish farm into the river during high water in 1994. Black carp can live 15 years.
"It was the first I'd heard of a black carp. I didn't know anything about it, so this has been quite the learning experience," Hughes said.
Hughes' carp was transported to be studied by the United States Geological Survey. "It's a little disappointing, as I don't think I'll ever catch a fish that big again," the Bonnots Mill resident said. "But at least it's one less invasive fish in Missouri waters."
More on black carp: Black carp appear similar to the common grass carp, but the black carp is darker, though not truly black, and some report the adult black carp have a relatively narrower snout. It also has large pharyngeal teeth, or throat teeth, that resemble human molars. These teeth are used to crush the shells of mollusk and prey. MORE INFO