April 20, 2021
It may be big-bass time of year, but a couple of Missouri anglers have other species to boast about, including one that is world-record sized.
The Missouri Department of Conservation announced two state fishing records this week — a spotted gar that weighed nearly a pound heavier than the current world record, and an alternative-methods white sucker that was snagged and beat a year-old record.
Devlin Rich's record spotted gar, caught Feb. 25 at Wappapello Lake, weighed 10 pounds, 9 ounces and beat the state's pole-and-line record. If accepted by the International Game Fish Association as an all-tackle world record, it would beat a 27-year-old mark (9-12, 1994, Lake Mexia, Tex.).
Spotted gar are common in Southeastern Missouri, the agency said, but not commonly taken on pole and line.
"Gars are generally associated with warm, sluggish backwaters," MDC said in the news release. "They frequently rise to the water's surface, opening and closing their jaws with a loud snap, then sinking below. This behavior allows them to swallow air into their swim bladder, which allows it to function much like a lung. This adaptation helps them survive in still or slow waters with relatively low oxygen levels."
Snag-angler Harvey Smith, of Sparta, said his state-record white sucker, caught March 27 at Roark Creek in Taney County, came decades after the last time he went snagging.
"My son and his best friend convinced me to go out with them and I ended up catching a state record. I'll probably never do it again," Smith told MDC in a news release.
The previous alternative-methods record for white sucker was 5 pounds, 1 ounce, caught at Lake Taneycomo.
Smith said he was going to immediately release the fish until others told him they thought it could be a record. Of course, they were right.
Missouri state-record fish are recognized in two categories: pole-and-line and alternative methods. Alternative methods include: trotlines, throwlines, limb lines, bank lines, jug lines, spearfishing, snagging, snaring, gigging, grabbing, archery, and atlatl. More info on Missouri record fish