In a stroke of extraordinary luck, Anthony Rozniak from St. Peters, Missouri, had his fishing trip plans upended when, just 15 minutes into his outing with his brother on the Missouri River, he reeled in a remarkable 3-pound skipjack herring, setting a new state record.
The Missouri Department of Conservation confirmed that Rozniak’s catch, made on December 6, equaled the pole-and-line records set in 2017 and 2019. The brothers had initially set out on the river with the intention of catfish hunting, but fate had a different plan for them that day.
“We had only been out fishing for 15 minutes by the time I caught it,” Rozniak recounted. “I looked at my brother and said, ‘I hate to cancel our fishing trip, but we got a state record! We got to go!'”
The 3-pound skipjack herring, certified at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s office in St. Louis, marked the fifth record catch of the year. Rozniak, reflecting on the experience, revealed that he and his brother had been perusing state records five months prior, with a casual remark about potentially breaking one.
“(I) said to my brother, if we did break one, it would be a skipjack,” Rozniak recalled. “I honestly never thought it would happen, but I feel extremely lucky.”
Skipjack herrings, known for their acrobatic leaps from the water while pursuing minnows and small fishes, can grow up to 21 inches long and weigh up to 3 ½ pounds, according to officials. Rozniak’s unexpected record-breaking catch adds a thrilling chapter to Missouri’s angling history.