A Missouri man just claimed the Show Me State's brown trout record when he beat the previous record by more than six pounds!
Paul Crews of Neosho, Missouri, only fishes for trout once a year, when he participates in the Vince Elfrink Memorial Tournament. But once a year is all it takes when you catch a massive brown trout like Crews did at this year's tournament. He shattered the state brown trout record when he landed a massive 34-pound, 10-ounce fish on 4-pound line.
Fishing Lake Taneycomo, Crews was using a marabou jig on 4-pound test line when he hooked the oversized brown.
Crews' new record bested Scott Sandusky's 28-pound, 12-ounce brown caught from the same lake in 2009.
The big fish surpassed the old Missouri state record brown trout by a mind-blowing 6 pounds, 2 ounces.
"I was casting into 2 feet of water and I felt a tap and set the hook," Crews recalled. "I thought it was a pretty good fish, but when it swam under the boat it honestly looked like maybe a 4 or 5 pound rainbow. But then he really started turning it on. This fish was the boss and I could not control him."
In honor of a friend
The Vince Elfrink Memorial Tournament held in Taney County is named for Crews' fishing buddy, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 52.
"I don't know anybody who enjoyed fishing more than Vince," said Crews. "I think he would have been REAL happy to be in on the catching of this fish, whether being the net man or the 'catcher', which he probably would have been!"
Crews said he initially didn't realize how big the brown trout was. But once he saw the size he began to feel the exhilaration of successfully landing the brute. He fought would would end up being the state record brown trout for a good 20 minutes, gently pressuring it to avoid breaking his light line.
"I fought the fish from one side of the lake to the other and back," Crews said.
"We got it up to the boat and got the net underneath him, but my partner wasn't strong enough to lift it," the new state record holder said. "He grabbed one side of the net and I grabbed the other and we managed to get him into the boat."
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) weighed the fish on a certified scale, and took multiple photographs and measurements. They also handled the giant brown trout gently and did everything they could to ensure its health and well-being so that it could be released back into the lake.
"I didn't want to kill the fish," Crews said. "With my winnings, I'll have a replica mount made."
Crews won $1,400 for the largest brown trout in the tournament as well as $666 for first place in the contest.
"Upon releasing him," Crews said of the new state record fish, "I felt that he had made my day and I was appreciating that he got on my hook. I was just returning the favor."
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