Time for the first update on state records for 2012. It took awhile for the first state record applications for this year, but since that one showed up there have been several more come across my desk. So, let’s take ‘em as they have come. . . .
First off is a new record for common carp taken by surface spearing.
What you see there is a 33 pound 2 ounce common carp that was speared by Josh Adamson at Box Butte Reservoir on April 23. There has been a lot of activity in the surface spearing state record category for common carp in the past three years. All of those fish have been speared at Box Butte Reservoir and the record has progressed from 23 pounds 8 ounces to now over 33 pounds! This latest record beat the one speared at Box Butte last year by 6.5 pounds! That is certainly a significant raising of the bar, so we will see if there is a bigger common carp to be speared at Box Butte.
By the way, I mention this every time I talk about common carp at Box Butte, but I am going to again: Notice in the picture above that common carp has the “non-typical” mirror carp scale pattern. Apparently, common carp in Box Butte come from a relatively small gene pool because an unusual majority of them are mirror carp. In most carp populations the mirror scale pattern is “non-typical” and relatively uncommon, but not at Box Butte!
The second new record was caught on April 25 and is a new hook & line state record shovelnose sturgeon.
That fish weighed 4 pounds 8 ounces and was caught from the Missouri River in Cass County by Steve Horan. Steve was using green worms for bait. That fish beat the existing shovelnose sturgeon rod & reel state record by only 3 ounces; a record that had stood since 2000.
There may be bigger shovelnose sturgeon swimming in the Platte or Missouri rivers, but keep in mind that threatened lake sturgeon and endangered pallid sturgeon can also show up in those waters. Both the pallid and lake sturgeon are usually larger than shovelnose sturgeon and I have seen at least one instance where a couple of hopeful state record holders had their dreams crushed when they discovered they had harvested an endangered pallid sturgeon, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2012/04/caught/ . Steve’s fish was definitely a shovelnose sturgeon, but if anyone is setting off to break any shovelnose sturgeon records, they better be very sure of their sturgeon identification skills. Oh, and one other friendly reminder–no sturgeon, not even the shovelnose sturgeon can be harvested from the Missouri River above the mouth of the Big Sioux River.
Next is another rod & reel state record, a white sucker.
Sorry, that is the best picture I have for that fish. It was caught by Eric Fuller and was also caught from Box Butte Reservoir. Eric caught that sucker on May 11 using a nightcrawler for bait. The fish weighed 6 pounds 1 ounce and again only beat the old hook & line record white sucker by just 3 ounces (a fish caught just 2 years ago).
A 6-pound white sucker is an exceptionally large white sucker. The all-tackle world record white sucker recognized by the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, I believe, is a fish of 7 pounds 4 ounces, and depending on the strength of line used to capture that white sucker from Box Butte, it very well may have been large enough to be a line-class world record ( http://www.freshwater-fishing.org/index.php ). I do not know how much higher our hook & line record for white sucker might go; I doubt that there are many white sucker larger than 6 pounds anywhere in the state.
Next was a bigmouth buffalo taken by bow-fishing on May 14.
That fish weighed 55 pounds and was shot by Edward Vansant on a private sandpit in Dodge County. By the way, that is NOT Edward pictured in the photo; he had a buddy take the fish to our Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium south of Gretna (http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/fishing/programs/aquaticed/aquarium.asp ) to complete the state record certification. The old archery bigmouth buffalo record was a 53-pounder that had been on the books since 1993. I am betting we will see bigger buffalo arrowed in the coming years; they can grow even bigger than Edward’s fish.
Then there was a river carpsucker taken by surface spearing at Lake Minatare.
If I am reading the writing on the application right, Bowen Fitts speared that river carpsucker on May 18; it weighed 6 pounds 3 ounces. Bowen’s river carpsucker beat the old surface spearfishing state record by only 4 ounces, a fish that was taken from a private sandpit in Cuming County back in 2007. Once again I will tell you that river carpsuckers can grow a lot larger than 6 pounds 3 ounces, so if someone can find a larger one to spear; that record could push much higher.
Lastly, this one just came across my desk. This was another fish caught by rod & reel, a shortnose gar from the Nemaha River in Richardson County.
That is Jeremy Waggoner from Hiawatha Kansas holding his new hook & line record, 7 pound 5 ounce, shortnose gar. Jeremy caught that fish on June 9 on a frog. Interestingly, Jeremy’s fish beat the old hook & line record shortnose gar by 7 ounces, but his fish was actually a couple of inches shorter than that previous record. You can see that Jeremy’s fish had a healthy girth, I am wondering if that fish might have been full of eggs?
That is all I have for now. I can tell you about one near miss, a grass carp taken by bowfishing that “only” weighed 59 pounds and came up short of breaking the record by about 9 pounds. That fish showed up at my office as a frozen torpedo that took two of us to wrestle around! The gentleman that shot the fish thought there might be a bigger one there, so he was heading back to try to get it.
We are right in the middle of our “fishing season” now and I am sure there will be some more applications crossing my desk. In past years we have had a number of underwater spearfishing records set or exceeded and I have seen no applications for underwater spearfishing records, yet. Stay tuned, there will be more record fish to tell you about in the coming months, or better yet, get out there and catch one yourself. You never know!