OUTDOORS: Eighth new fish state record caught

BILL WEHRLE, C-T/LCL Outdoors Sports Editor

By BILL WEHRLE, C-T/LCL Outdoors Sports Editor

It’s been a great year for catching record-setting fish in Missouri!

The eighth new record was taken July 24 by a Perryville bowfisherman, Matt Neuling, when his arrow penetrated a 125-pounds, 5-ounces bighead carp at Perry Lake.

Matt was bowfishing with a friend when they both shot what they thought was a large grass carp. The friend’s arrow pulled out, but Neuling’s arrow stayed in the fish and they boated it. The fish was larger than any they’d ever seen before.

The Missouri Department of Conservation verified the bighead carp as the largest ever taken in Missouri, and, not only that, the catch also beats the existing world record of 104 pounds, 15 ounces. The MDC indicated that the huge carp was about 10 years old.

This eighth new fish state record in 2021 ties the number of new record fish taken last year, making 2021 one of the top new-record years for fishermen and fisherwomen.

The 2021 dove season opens in only days (Wednesday, Sept. 1). If you haven’t gotten a good dove location scouted, you’ve got only a short time to do so.

Shotshell ammunition has recently become more available after a long summer of  “shell shortage,” so it’s time to stock up if you haven’t already. Better also buy some non-toxic shotshells as early teal season is set to open in just a couple of weeks on Sept. 11. I’ve heard teal have already been spotted locally, so their annual early migration might have already begun.

With hunting seasons set to begin soon, I’ve not written much about fishing lately and I’ve not taken the time to go fishing this year. However, it’s not too late to get in some late-summer angling for bass and catfish.

Recent cooler weather (unfortunately having given way to a return to normal August heat this week) should have put the fish in an eating mood. Bass are likely feeding early in the morning and late in the evening now, and a jig or surface lure presented in shallow water next to some grassy cover should get you a strike.

Bullfrog season is still open, so be alert for big frogs sitting near the same grassy cover and maybe you can bring home a delicious mixed bag of fish and frog legs.

Big catfish also are on the prowl now. I’ve seen several photos recently of Grand River catfish appearing to weigh at least 20 pounds or more.

The river level is currently pretty low, so careful boating is necessary to not get “grounded.” Fried catfish is some of the best wild meat ever, and I get hungry just thinking about bringing in a few of these.

Chillicothe’s Grand River Area Ducks Unlimited banquet is coming closer (Sept. 18), and it’ll be a real big celebration – the 50th anniversary of the Chillicothe chapter, a milestone reached by very few DU chapters.

To me it doesn’t seem all that long ago that Jeff Churan, Ken Lewis, Tim Reger, Ken Lauhoff, myself and a few other area waterfowlers began the first-ever non-metropolitan Missouri chapter, and it’s been a conservation success ever since.

Get your tickets early, as there likely will be a sellout crowd  helping to celebrate 50 years of Chillicothe Ducks Unlimited banquets.

Hope to see you there!

(Bill Wehrle’s “Outdoors” column now appears in the C-T every Saturday and LCL every Monday)