Barbs and Backlashes

Record Fish, September 17, 2010 by whitetips
September 17, 2010, 11:19 am
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , , , , ,

Time for another update of state record fish.  You will see some familiar names here.

Dustin Noble is a hardcore Nebraska outdoorsman.  You can follow his adventures here, .  One thing Dustin loves to do is some underwater spearfishing, and you will find his name throughout the underwater powered spearfishing record book, .  Dustin has also taken the time to compile what would be world record fish taken while underwater spearfishing, .

Well, Dustin has been busy underwater again this summer.  I talked to him on the phone for a little bit and he has access to a private Buffalo County sandpit that produces some big fish.  His targets there this summer have been redear sunfish.  Here is the first one he shot on July 3.

1 pound 2 ounce redear sunfish

I love that classic red margin on the gill cover tab.  That is definitely a redear sunfish.  Now Dustin has taken all three redear sunfish that have ever qualified as underwater spearfishing records.  He started with a 2 ounce fish taken back in 2007, so he was just raising the bar with the 1 pound 2 ounce fish he took in July.

But . . .

Notice I said Dustin had taken all 3 redears that have been certified as underwater spearfishing state records; he went back on September 4 and got the third one.

1 pound 4 ounce redear sunfish

So, our current underwater powered spearfishing state record for redear sunfish stands at 1 pound 4 ounces until someone, and my money would be on Dustin, beats that.

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World Record Walleye by whitetips
September 7, 2010, 12:26 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: ,

There are two organizations that keep track of “world record” fish; the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), and the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame (“the Hall”), .  IGFA specializes in listing records for marine fish and fish from all over the world while the Hall specializes in records for North American freshwater fish.  Here in my office we receive the annual edition of the Hall’s world records and they also send out quarterly updates.  I found an interesting article in their most recent quarterly update and I want to share that with you here.

For years the Hall had recognized a 25-pound walleye caught from Old Hickory Lake in Tennessee as the all-tackle world’s record.  That fish was caught by Marby Harper in 1960.  As you can imagine, historic record fish were not quite the same as if those fish were caught today; record catches were not documented in the same way 50 years ago as they would be today.  In many cases those catches were valid, but since they were not documented as rigorously as they would have been if caught today, they are considered as good stories, but somewhat questionable as records.  I also believe folks have little appreciation for history; if something did not happen during their life time, then somehow it does not count, never happened, is just some story you read in a book (even the books themselves are becoming part of history).

There was one picture of the Marby Harper walleye and there were folks that cast doubts on the true size of that fish based on that one photograph.

The controversy surrounded the claim that Marby’s walleye was 41 inches long.  Doubters claimed that based on the size Marby’s hands in the photograph compared to the length of the fish, there was no way that fish could have measured 41 inches.  In 1996, based on those arguments and claims, the Hall removed Marby Harper’s fish as the all-tackle world’s record walleye.

This past spring the Hall reinstated the Marby Harper walleye as the all-tackle world’s record.  Why the reversal?  New documentation!  The Hall had found, or someone had produced additional photographs of the head of the walleye (after the fish was cleaned!), and a picture of Marby’s wife, Mary, holding the walleye.  Based on that and additional evidence including affidavits from a conservation officer involved in the official weighing and measuring of the fish, the Hall concluded that Marby’s fish was indeed 41 inches long and weighed 25 pounds!!!!!

So, if you want to know what world’s record walleye looks like, if you want to know what a 41-inch walleye looks like, in addition to the previous photo, here is the photograph of Mary Harper holding the fish.

WHAT A WALLEYE!  That record has “stood” for 50 years now.  There have been walleyes close to 20 pounds caught in recent years, are even a few others in excess of 20 pounds that have been documented, but nothing close to 25 pounds.  And you know what?  Somehow I think it is appropriate that record is pictured in a black & white photo.  Somehow it adds to the mystique, the history, the legend.  Will it ever be broken?  Who knows?  But you know what?  I am fine if it never is broken; in many ways walleye fishing today is as good or better than it ever was, but an old “black & white record” gives us something to shoot for!

This is not my story, I have shared just part of it.  I would highly recommend that you go here and read it for yourself, .

Stop the presses, another big Japanese bass by whitetips
August 27, 2010, 10:45 am
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: ,

Quick post here for the weekend.  I have no exclusive scoop on this, and many of you may have already heard the word.  There was another giant largemouth bass caught in Japan; another fish that topped the 20-pound mark.  This fish will not be large enough to be a new world’s record, but a H-A-W-G of a bass nonetheless!  Here is what a 28-inch largemouth bass looks like.  Man, wouldn’t I look good holding that fish?

You can read everything I know about the catch here, .  Apparently this fish was caught from another Japanese water, not Lake Biwa where the fish that tied the world’s record was caught, .

Largemouth bass are an invasive species in Japan.  I believe their story is much the same as many of the aquatic invasive species here in North America–nobody knows for sure how they got there, but they are there and they are a threat to their native fishes.  That creates an interesting dilemma as they would just as soon be rid of largemouth bass and bluegills, but obviously those fish have created a following among Japanese anglers.  I would bet that they will have to learn to manage them and live with them because it may be impossible to get rid of all of them.  Can you imagine considering largemouth bass to be nothing more than “green carp”?  Especially when they have demonstrated the potential to reach such huge proportions?

The fact that largemouth bass are an exotic species in Japan may be a large part of the reason they grow so large there.  In Japanese waters largemouth bass may have little competition from the native predator fish and are able to expand into a new habitat where they are very successful.  At some point they may not reach the exceptionally large sizes they are now, but then again if the habitat conditions are ideal we may continue to see some monstrous bass being caught in Japan.  Unfortunately a large predator like that could have serious impacts on the ecology of Japanese waters as well.

Record Fish, August 4, 2010 by whitetips
August 4, 2010, 1:34 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , ,

I have a few state record applications sitting on my desk; time for another update.

Let’s start with this fish.

This will be a new state record for longnose gar taken by surface spearfishing.  Randy Oppliger of Columbus speared this fish on June 12.  Randy’s gar was taken from the Platte River in Polk County, weighed 20 pounds 15 ounces, and was 58 inches long.  This fish broke the previous surface spearfishing longnose gar record by 3.5 pounds!

The next application to hit my desk was for a grass carp taken by bow-fishing.  This fish is mammoth!

That is what a 63 pound 8 ounce, 53.25-inch grass carp looks like.  Marlyn Wiebelhaus from Wynot arrowed this big grass carp at Buckskin Hills Reservoir on July 6.  Grass carp were stocked in Buckskin Hills back in 1984 and 1988.  Marlyn’s fish would be one of the 765 grass carp stocked in Buckskin in those two years.  I do not know any of the story behind Marlyn’s fish, but I do know that grass carp are extremely wary and I am guessing it took some stealth and skill to stick a 20-some year old, 63-pound grass carp!  This grass carp beat the previous archery grass carp record by one pound and seven ounces.  That previous archery state record for grass carp was held by Ron Anderson from Omaha.

I usually do not mention the names of previous record holders when I do a state record update, but I am dropping Marlyn and Ron’s names for a reason.  Both of them have been listed in the bow-fishing records before, and in this case Marlyn knocked off one of Ron’s records.  But, on July 20, Ron got revenge.

On that date, Ron Anderson took the pictured silver carp by bow-fishing on the Missouri River in Douglas County.  Ron’s silver carp weighed 27 pounds 11 ounces and was 39 inches long.  I say Ron got revenge because his silver carp knocked off the previous bow-fishing silver carp record taken by . . . you guessed it . . . Marlyn Wiebelhaus.  Marlyn’s previous archery record silver carp was a 22 pound 2 ounce fish.  So, Ron beat Marlyn’s previous bow-fishing record silver carp by a larger margin than Marlyn’s bow-fishing record grass carp exceeded Ron’s previous record.  Anyway, I thought that was curious and I am sure the “competition” between those two will continue.  Seriously, I know they both spend a lot of time on the water and obviously they know what they are doing.

Ron’s fish was a silver carp and yes, that is the species of carp that jump out of the water when frightened.  Silver carp are here, they can be found in Nebraska’s Missouri River all the way up to Gavins Point Dam.  I hate to think of it, but a 27 pound 11 ounce silver carp flying into a boat could do some serious damage to some body!  Silver carp can grow quite a bit larger, so I would predict that we will continue to see the records for these fish pushed higher.  Even bigger silver carp would be even more dangerous if they come flying into someone’s lap while motoring in a boat up the river.

I have heard some grumbling from anglers this year about nongame fish being the only records that are being broken.  I do not make the records, I just keep track of them.  If you want more game fish records, then go get ’em.  But I think there are some reasons we have recently seen more record nongame fish than record game fish.  Angler acceptance and popularity is partly behind “game fish” and “nongame fish” designations.  Being more popular, our rod and reel state records for most game fish have already been set near the ultimate potential size for those species in Nebraska waters.  I consider it unlikely that we will ever see our rod & reel records for species like brown trout, brook trout, bluegill, largemouth bass, or smallmouth bass broken.  Those records are already established at weights that may never be exceeded in Nebraska waters.  On the other hand, we have had archery, underwater powered spearfishing, and surface spearfishing records for many species of nongame fish established just recently and those records could be pushed even higher.  For example, longnose gar, silver carp and grass carp can get even larger than the three records I mentioned in this blog post.  We will still see some rod & reel records broken, came darned close to the walleye record already this year, , but you can expect that nongame fish archery, underwater powered spear-fishing and surface spear-fishing are going to be the most common record breakers.

Let me finish with a couple stories of near misses.

The first rolled into our office last week when we had a report of an unusual gar that had been arrowed on the Missouri River.  Initial descriptions sounded like the fish could be an alligator gar, a southern species of gar that had never before been confirmed in Nebraska waters.  You can find some alligator gar as close as Missouri and Kansas, but never before in Nebraska waters.  However, with the high water levels this year, fish are on the move and who knows what could swim up into our waters.  Anyway, it turned out to be a false alarm as closer examination revealed that it was a shortnose gar with an unusual snout.

Secondly, Jake Miriovshy arrowed this longnose gar last weekend.

We believe this fish might have been big enough to exceed the 22 pound 13 ounce record for longnose gar taken by bow-fishing.  But, Jake did not think of checking the fish in until a couple of days later and by the time it had been retrieved it had dried quite a bit and fell a couple pounds short.  From the picture I believe it might have been big enough to be a new state record when it was taken.  Jake was confident there were some more big longnose gar in that pit, and he and his buddies will be on a quest to break that archery state record.  Stay tuned.

Believe it or not, I hear these sad stories all the time, so this is a good reminder.  You can find all of our state record fish listed here, .  A list of the weights of the current state records along with state record rules can also be found in the 2010 Fishing Guide, .  If you take what you believe might be a new state record, keep it alive as long as possible, but if it dies, it will not lose weight as long as you keep it wet–ice it down, keep it in water, and then get it weighed and certified as soon as you can.  If you have any questions let me know.

Congratulations to Randy, Marlyn and Ron!  We will get the certificates finished up and in the mail to you.  To the rest of you, you never know what is out there!  The more time you spend on the water, the more likely you will have an encounter with an exceptional fish.  That is what keeps us fishing!

Big Catfish by whitetips
July 27, 2010, 9:03 am
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , ,

The fish I am about to write about are not Nebraska fish.  But, this is my blog, I love big fish and I know many of you do too.

By now most of you have probably heard about the new, pending, world’s record blue catfish caught from the Missouri River in Missouri, .

Today, less than a week after that big blue was caught, I received an e-mail and apparently there has been another monster catfish taken from the Missouri River in Missouri.

Seriously, the news of this catch was just being passed around via e-mail, so stay tuned to hear official verification and more details.  All I am going to say here is what I received in an e-mail–flathead catfish weighing 99 pounds and was caught on a set-line.  The fish measured 53.6 inches and initial reports were that the fish was released back into the Missouri River.  From the photo, it looks like the catching of this fish was a family affair!

All I can say is HOLY COW!  Those fish are awesome predators!  The lower Missouri River near its confluence with the Mississippi and the Mississippi in that area are known for producing some monstrous catfish.  We have confirmed blue catfish in Nebraska’s Missouri River in excess of 100 pounds; even though these two fish were captured downstream of Nebraska, I would tell you that there likely are fish like that swimming in our waters too!  And with the high water levels that we have seen in the Missouri this year, it may be even more likely that some monster catfish have moved into our waters.  You never know what is out there.

I do know this, I would think twice about sending a little poodle for a swim in the Missouri River!

Stop the presses! Another Record Fish by whitetips
June 17, 2010, 9:47 am
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: ,

I know I just gave a state record update last week, , and I could wait until I had at least a couple or three new applications before I did another update.  But I cannot wait, THIS IS HUGE!

HOLY COW! I told you it was huge!

This common carp was taken last Sunday, June 13, 2010, by Alex Peterson from Burwell.  That carp was 40 inches long and weighed 50 pounds 5 ounces!!!!!  The fish was taken by bow & arrow from Dewey Lake on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge.  Congratulations Alex; I do not know how you could hit such a small target.  Ha.  The scales on that thing are bigger than some fish I have caught!

Let me put a little perspective on a 50-lb.+ carp.  The National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, only keeps world records for fish taken by hook & line, but looking through their line class records I only see two carp records in excess of 50 pounds!  The all-tackle world’s record common carp recognized by “The Hall” is a 57 pound 13 ounce fish.  So, a 50-pound common carp is a WORLD CLASS common carp!  That sets our bow-fishing state record for common carp really high!

Flooding by whitetips
June 15, 2010, 3:28 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , , , , , ,

If you live anywhere in Nebraska you are aware of the flooding that is occurring right now in many parts of the state.  I have heard some references to this being “the worst ever” and in some parts of the state I am sure it is probably as bad as it has ever been.  But, this is life in the Great Plains.  Remember how dry it was just a few years ago?  Our weather patterns are always changing; it has been wet before, will be wet again; it has been dry before, will be dry again.

There is no doubt there are going to be damages and some things will not be fixed for weeks, maybe months.  Some folks will suffer loss from all of this, and we feel for you.  Our fisheries will be impacted too.  Unfortunately there have been some waters like Lake Ericson where the dam was washed away and who knows if that will ever be the same again?  Goose Lake has extremely high water levels right now.  Carp exclusion structures were built at Goose Lake when the Aquatic Habitat Rehabilitation Project was completed a few years ago, , and those structures were designed to be higher than a certain amount of flooding, but I am afraid what we have now is way beyond that and there may be carp re-invading Goose Lake and other waters even as I type this.  We will see what fisheries look like after all of this and manage them accordingly.

Please do not think I am cavalier about all of the flooding and the problems it causes, but I want to point out that there are some benefits to our fisheries.

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