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Michigan Angler Breaks 30-Year Old Hybrid Sunfish Record

hybrid sunfish
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

An angler initially thought he had hooked a big bass. He was shocked to see that it was instead a hybrid sunfish big enough to break the state's 30-year record.

Joel Heeringa, of Saint Joseph, Michigan, is the new owner of the top spot in the Michigan record book for hybrid sunfish.

Heeringa caught the hefty 1.8 pound, 11.7 inch long sunfish out of Lake Anne in Grand Mere State Park.

Grand Mere is located in the southwestern part of the state.

In taking the new state record Heeringa bested the two previous tying hybrid sunfish caught back in 1988. Those fish weighed 1.44 pounds each.

hybrid sunfish
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Heeringa initially thought he had hooked a large bass when the sunfish took his crawler.

"It wasn't until I got it a little closer to shore that I saw that it was actually a huge sunfish," Heeringa told Fox News. "I knew it was big, but it wasn't until I returned home and put it on the scale did I think that it was a contender for the state record."

Heeringa's record fish was verified by Brian Gunderman, DNR fisheries unit manager for southern Lake Michigan, and University of Michigan fisheries experts. Heeringa caught the fish this past July.

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Michigan Angler Breaks 30-Year Old Hybrid Sunfish Record