Missouri Man Reels in World Record Bighead Carp: “You’ve Got to be Kidding Me!”

A Missouri angler reeled in a whopper last week, shattering not only a state record but also a world record carp. George Chance, from Festus, Missouri, was bank fishing for catfish on the Mississippi River when he hooked into a monster that would leave him speechless. Using a bottom-bouncing crankbait, Chance battled the fish for a grueling 20 minutes before finally pulling it ashore.

What he landed wasn’t a catfish, but a behemoth bighead carp weighing a staggering 97 pounds! This incredible catch surpassed the previous bighead carp pole-and-line world record of 90 pounds, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).

Chance’s catch also smashed the state record for bighead carp, previously held by an 80-pound fish caught at Lake of the Ozarks in 2004.

“You kind of know what a fish is once you hook into it based on how it fights,” Chance said. “It was moving pretty slow, and I originally thought it could be a flathead.”

The reality was much more impressive. “The more it fought, I saw its tail and knew it was some type of carp,” Chance recalled. “I was able to hook him with a hay hook in order to get him out of the water. It looked to be 50 or 60 pounds at least.”

The true magnitude of his catch didn’t hit Chance until he weighed the fish at a nearby recycling center. Upon seeing the scale tip at 97 pounds, Chance contacted his local conservation agent in disbelief.

“They told me it was a state record, and I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!'” Chance laughed. “Then later they said, ‘It’s not just a state record, it’s a world record!’ and I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!'”

This wasn’t the only record-breaking fish caught in Missouri recently. Just two days prior, Chad Williams of Olathe, Kansas, snagged a 164-pound, 13-ounce state- and world-record paddlefish at Lake of the Ozarks.

Chance, ever the resourceful angler, decided to put his giant carp to good use. “I chopped up the fish and put it in my garden,” he said. “I’m going to eat it in the form of tomatoes and cucumbers.”

The bighead carp, an invasive species native to Asia, can be legally removed from Missouri waters by fishing, as encouraged by the MDC. This makes Chance’s record-breaking catch a victory for both conservation and the dinner table!

Image/Source: FoxWeather

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