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In March 2024, George Chance of Festus caught a massive 97-pound bighead carp from the Mississippi River, setting a new state record. Chance was fishing for catfish with a bottom-bouncing crankbait when he hooked into the fish. Initially, he thought it could be a flathead based on how it was fighting, but after around 20 minutes of fighting with the fish, he was able to get it onto the shore where he estimated it to be around 50-60 pounds.

To his surprise, when he took the fish to a nearby recycling center to use their scale, he was informed that not only was it a state record, but it was also a world record for bighead carp caught with a pole-and-line. This marks the third state record fish recorded for 2024 in Missouri.

Chance plans to enjoy his catch by using it in his garden as fertilizer for tomatoes and cucumbers. The carp was full of eggs and likely would have spawned in the spring, highlighting the need to manage invasive fish species like bighead carp. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) encourages people to harvest carp to help remove them from Missouri waters.

State record fish in Missouri are recognized in two categories: pole-and-line and alternative methods like trotline, throwline, limb line, and more. For more information on state record fish and how to apply for recognition, visit the MDC website.

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