Missouri angler catches world record-sized bighead carp

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) confirms George Chance of Festus is the latest state record holder after catching a massive 97-pound bighead carp from the Mississippi River. Chance was bank fishing for catfish with a bottom-bouncing crankbait when he hooked into the fish March 19. The previous pole-and-line state record was an 80-pound fish caught from the Lake of the Ozarks in 2004.

“You kind of know what a fish is once you hook into it based on how it fights,” Chance said. “It was moving pretty slow and I originally thought it could be a flathead.”

Chance was fighting with the fish for around 20 minutes before he finally got it onto the shore.

“The more it fought, I saw it’s tail and knew it was some type of carp,” he recalled. “I was able to hook him with a hay hook in order to get him out of the water. It looked to be 50 or 60 pounds at least.”

Chance took the monster fish to a nearby recycling center to use their scale, which prompted him to call his local conservation agent.

“They told me it was a state record, and I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’”, he laughed. “Then later they said ‘It’s not just a state record, it’s a world record!’ and I said ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ I had no idea this would happen would I woke up that morning.”

Chance’s catch is the third state record fish recorded for 2024. The fish also beats the current bighead carp pole-and-line world record of 90-pounds.

“I chopped up the fish and put it in my garden,” Chance said. “I’m going to eat it in the form of tomatoes and cucumbers.”

Chance also noted the carp was full of eggs and likely would have spawned this spring. Bighead carp are an invasive fish from Asia. MDC encourages people to harvest carp to help remove them from Missouri waters.

Missouri state record fish are recognized in two categories: pole-and-line and alternative methods. Alternative methods include trotline, throwline, limb line, bank line, jug line, gig, bow, crossbow, underwater spearfishing, snagging, snaring, grabbing, or atlatl. For more information on state record fish, visit http://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZCp.