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Now That's a Big Drum: Another Wyoming State Record Smashed

Now That's a Big Drum: Another Wyoming State Record Smashed

state record
James Potter Jr.'s Wyoming-record freshwater drum weighed 22.58 pounds. (Photo courtesy of Wyoming Game and Fish Department)

It's the second time this summer a state record was broken by several pounds.

One fact about state records in fishing is that most of them come when the angler least expects it. Many times it's also incidental.

Like while fishing for pike with frozen smelt on a Wyoming lake.

James Potter Jr. of Gillette, Wyo., turned in the state's third reported record of 2018 — a 22.58-pound freshwater drum caught July 15 at Keyhole Reservoir, the state game and fish agency said.

state record
James Potter Jr.'s fish shattered the previous record of 17 pounds, 4 ounces. (Photo courtesy of Wyoming Game and Fish Department)

Now, that's a big drum.

The fish shattered the previous state record (17-4, 2012) by more than five pounds.

According to a Wyoming Game and Fish news release, Potter caught the fish while pike fishing with his father-in-law for only about 20 minutes. The fish went on a 60-yard run and Potter thought at first he had a huge walleye, then saw it was a giant drum as it got closer to shore.

Soon after he realized he might have a state record, so he flagged down game wardens Luke May and Derek White, who helped him start the paperwork for certification.

"It was quite the moment when we put it on the scale and it printed out that ticket," Potter said in the news release.  "I saw that 22 pounds and said, 'We just beat the record! We just blew it out of the water!'"

It was the second fishing record in Wyoming to be blown out of the water this year. In May, Caleb Salzman broke the Wyoming largemouth bass record with an 11.5-pound catch at Kleenburn Pond. The previous record was 7.87 pounds.


Sheridan fisheries biologist Andrew Nikirk said drum aren't common in Wyoming and are "usually incidental catches." They're not native to the state and were introduced as a sport fish. They're also good tasting fish and hard fighters.

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