This paddlefish may be a new world record!
An Oklahoma angler had a weekend to remember forever with his catch of a gigantic, 146-pound, 11-ounce paddlefish from the state's Keystone Lake. The catch of a lifetime has already spread around the Internet like wildfire.
Fox News reports James Lukehart snagged the giant fish on Saturday. Paddlefish are an ancient species that has lived on earth for more than 100 million years. They only eat plankton, which is why traditional angling methods for this species do not work. Most are caught by anglers dragging big hooks through the water to snag them.
Lukehart's fish was an armful, quite literally. It was 70.5 inches long, and had a jaw-dropping 45-inch girth. Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation were on hand to examine the fish and confirm it beats out the Sooner State record by over three pounds.
It also beats out the weight for the world record by only two pounds. However, the International Game Fish Association does not officially record paddlefish records because the organization does not count snagged fish. Paddlefish are also not considered sportfish by many record keeping organizations. We do not think Lukehart cares though. Tulsa World has more information about the catch. In a bit of irony, Lukehart and his wife were fishing with a guide, Jeremiah Mefford, who set the previous record only one month earlier.
"Everybody says they want to go out and catch a record," Lukehart told the paper. "We kind of joke around about it, but really we just wanted something to bring home and eat it for dinner tonight."
Because they were using barbless treble hooks, Lukehart was able to release the giant paddlefish to fight and grow for another day thanks to Mefford's expertise and experience in the matter. Tulsa World additionally reports that one of Mefford's other clients caught and released an unofficial 157-pounder earlier this year.
That means the world record could be up for grabs again in the future. Congratulations to Lukehart on his catch from all of us here at Wide Open Spaces!
For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels.
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