The thrill of fishing just got bigger for one lucky angler in the Kansas City area. Jeffrey Needles has made a splash in the fishing community by reeling in the first state-record fish of 2024 at Lake Lotawana—a hefty 12-ounce yellow perch.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, Needles clinched the record in the alternative-method category for yellow perch. This achievement eclipses the previous record of a 10-ounce perch caught from a private pond back in 2019.

Needles, who ventured out with his family on January 3rd, initially made light-hearted jests about breaking the record. “I’d talked about breaking this record a lot,” Needles shared. “We’ve always had yellow perch in Lake Lotawana, and I thought, ‘What if I did a throwline for alternative records?’ My wife asked me what I was doing that day, and I jokingly told her, ‘I’m going out to break the record for yellow perch!’”

His outing began with an unexpected stroke of luck as he quickly landed a yellow perch. However, it was the second catch, about 45 minutes later, that proved to be the real prize. “I was very surprised to get one so quickly, so I thought I may be on to something,” he recalled. “It was about 45 minutes later and I was getting discouraged, and cold, but I caught a second one that looked bigger.”

The 12-ounce specimen was promptly weighed on a certified scale in Blue Springs, confirming Needles’ remarkable feat. “I do weekly fishing tournaments with my buddies, and a lot of guys say record perch is in that lake,” Needles remarked. “I have friends trying to break the record for pole-and-line, so for me to get the alternative records method is fun. And having my kids there for that moment made it even more special.”

In a testament to his commitment to conservation, Needles ensured the fish’s survival during the weighing process before releasing it back into Lake Lotawana. He now plans to commemorate his record-setting catch by having a replica made of the fish, marking a milestone in his angling adventures.

Image/Source: KMBC