Lionel "Jam" Ferguson caught the record fish May 15 in a pond near Paint Rock, Tennessee.
The final step in Lionel Ferguson's journey from farm pond to a world record ended this week when the International Game Fish Association announced it certified his 5-pound, 7.86-ounce black crappie as the biggest it had ever seen.
“Ferguson’s historic catch is the heaviest crappie ever recorded by the IGFA,” the organization said in a news release.
The new all-tackle record for black crappie, listed as 5-7, broke a 12-year-old record, the IGFA said. The old record was an even 5 pounds, caught in 2006 at a private lake in Missouri.
IT’S OFFICIAL! Lionel Ferguson’s 5-pound, 7-ounce black crappie is the new IGFA All-Tackle world record! Caught on May 15, 2018 in Richeison Pond, Tennessee, Ferguson’s monster crappie replaced the previous record of 5 pound which was set back in 2006. #fishIGFA
Ferguson, of Philadelphia, Tenn., caught the record fish May 15 near Paint Rock also blasted the old state record in Tennesee (4-4, caught in 1985) by more than a pound.
Ferguson, also known by his nickname, “Jam,” caught the fish on a jig and grub and 6-pound test line.
See Jam Ferguson's Facebook Live interview with Game & Fish
After the fish was certified as a state record by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, it went through DNA testing to confirm it was a black crappie and not a hybrid.
That paved the way for Ferguson to submit the catch to the IGFA.
“Setting an IGFA All-Tackle world record for such a popular and highly sought after game fish species like the black crappie is truly an incredible feat,” said IGFA President Nehl Horton while signing Ferguson’s world-record certificate. “We congratulate Mr. Ferguson on his incredible accomplishment and are proud to have him as a member of the IGFA.”
The IGFA maintains All-Tackle world records for 1,472 different species of freshwater and saltwater fish from around the world. The IGFA receives an average of 500 world record applications on an annual basis. In orderto register a catch with the IGFA for a world record, the fish must have been caught in accordance the IGFA’sInternational Angling Rules, weighed on a certified scale and the angler must be able to provide the necessarytackle and photo documentation, along with a signed and notarized world record application. To learn more about the IGFA’s world record program, visit https://igfa.org/.