Springfield fisherman takes state-record bigmouth buffalo

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports that John Paul Morris of Springfield became the most recent record-breaking fisherman in Missouri when he shot a bigmouth buffalo on a private pond in Henry County using a bow and arrow. The new “alternative method” record bigmouth buffalo taken by Morris Jan. 21 weighed 57 pounds, 13 ounces. It measured at 39 inches with a girth of 32 ½ inches. The fish was shot on a coal mine strip pit.

“Several of my friends and I shot at this bigmouth buffalo in eight feet of water and none of us connected,” said Morris. “So we moved on and then the fish came up from behind the boat on our wake. That’s when I got an arrow in it.”

Morris added everyone in the group knew the fish was pretty big, but didn’t know it was a state record.

“Once we got it in the boat, it seemed to just get bigger,” Morris said. “I knew the Missouri bigmouth buffalo record was in the mid-50s, and once we found out how much the fish I brought in weighed, I was ecstatic!”

The new bigmouth buffalo broke the previous alternative-method state record of 54 pounds taken on Pomme de Terre Lake in 2015.

MDC staff verified the new record-weight fish using a certified scale at Lost Valley Fish Hatchery in Warsaw.

John Paul said his dad Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, was very excited that he got the state-record bigmouth buffalo.

“I plan on mounting this fish and placing it on the wall,” he said. “I have caught a lot big fish while bowfishing, but this one means a lot to me because this is the first time I have ever broken a state record.”

Missouri state-record fish are recognized in two categories: pole-and-line and alternative methods. Bowfishing is considered an alternative method and consist of a bow or crossbow that shoots arrows attached to a string so that the fish can be retrieved after they’re pierced. Other alternative methods include: throwlines, trotlines, limb lines, bank lines, jug lines, spearfishing, snagging, snaring, gigging, grabbing, and atlatl.

For more information on state-record fish, visit the MDC website at http://on.mo.gov/2efq1vl