Kansas City fisherman sets new state record with flathead catfish

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CLAY COUNTY, Mo. – Mathew McConkey of Kansas City became the most recent record-breaking fisherman in Missouri when he caught his giant flathead catfish on the Missouri River using a trotline. The new "alternative methods" record flathead catfish caught by McConkey on Sept. 19 weighed 100 pounds and was 57-inches long. He caught the fish around 10:30 a.m. on a four-inch goldfish.

"Once I grabbed the line I knew right away that I had big one," McConkey said. "The giant moved my 17-foot Lowe boat around like it was nothing."

The new behemoth broke the previous alternative-method state-record flathead catfish of 99 pounds caught on the Missouri River in 2010.

Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) staff verified the record-weight fish using a certified scale at the post office in Liberty.

"I've caught several big fish in the Missouri River, but this one is by far the biggest and most memorable," McConkey said.

The longtime fisherman said the fish is now skinned and in his freezer ready to be eaten. But before he skinned it he took several measurements, and he said he plans to have a replica made in the future.

"I still can't believe I caught this giant of a fish and broke the state record. My goal now is to catch an even bigger fish and break the world-record," McConkey said.

McConkey's record-breaking flathead catfish makes eight new state-record fish for 2015. There hasn't been this many new state records since 2002, when there were 10.

"This year has been a great year for fishing for many reasons. We had a great spring where we received plenty of rain that kept our rivers and lakes full, giving fish plenty of food and numerous areas to spread out," MDC Fisheries Programs Specialist Andrew Branson said. "Our summer was mild, which many anglers took to their advantage and fished more. So when the weather is great and more anglers get out on the water, that's when we see state records broken."

Missouri state-record fish are recognized in two categories: pole-and-line and alternative methods. Fishing with trotlines is considered an alternative method and consist of heavy fishing line with baited hooks attached at intervals by means of drop lines. A drop line is a short length of line which is attached to the main line using a clip or swivel, with the hook at the other end.

Other alternative methods include: bowfishing, throwlines, limb lines, bank lines, jug lines, spearfishing, snagging, snaring, gigging, grabbing, and atlatl.

Conservation makes Missouri a great place for more than a million anglers to fish for flathead catfish and more than 20 other sport-fish species. According to research by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Missouri is one of the top-five states for fishing.

For more information on state-record fish, visit the MDC website at http://on.mo.gov/1NPhOqG.