Illinois Man’s Monster 140-Pound Paddlefish Breaks Missouri State Record

by Amy Myers
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This Illinois man won’t need to hit the gym this week, since he already got a workout hauling a 140-pound paddlefish to shore, breaking the Missouri state record.

While on a family trip, Jim Dain decided to go on a fishing trip on the Lake of the Ozarks, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). When Dain found out that there was supposed to be inclement weather, he almost kept his reel at home. But after some thought, he decided to go through with his original plan.

And good thing he did.

“The forecast was calling for storms, and then it changed to no rain, so we went out, but it just kept getting colder,” Dain told the MDC. “We weren’t having much luck, but decided to fish for another hour so we took another turn. And that’s when the drag on the reel started. It felt like a tree was on the line!”

Paddlefish are called “primitive fish” because they still retain many of the characteristics that were present in the species in the earliest fossil records of the Early Cretaceous, about 120 to 125 million years ago. Their average weight is around 60 pounds, but clearly, they can grow to be much bigger.

Fellow Missouri State Record Holder Gives Crucial Advice for Paddlefish Catch

According to the Illinois angler, it took about 20 minutes for him to reel in the giant paddlefish. Once he got back to the boat ramp, he just happened to come across a Missouri angler who holds the state record for river carpsucker, Steven Henson of Bonne Terre. After taking one look at Dain’s catch, Henson knew that the paddlefish could be a record-breaker. So, Henson advised Dain to give the MDC a call.

“[Henson] was at the boat ramp and happened to hold a state record,” said Dain. “He’s looking at the fish and says to me, ‘Boy, I think you should get that checked out because it could be a state record.’”

Soon enough, Dain got in touch with MDC Camden County Agent Tyler Brown, who told the angler to take the state record paddlefish to Tom’s Slaughterhouse in Montreal. There, they could use the slaughterhouse’s certified scale that could measure more than 100 pounds. That’s where Dain found out that his paddlefish held the current record. Not to mention, the fish was also the second Missouri state-record fish caught in 2022.

After Dain received proper recognition for his catch, he didn’t waste any time cleaning the paddlefish. Now, he just needs to find a freezer large enough to store over 100 pounds of meat.

“We got 16 one-gallon bags of meat out of this catch,” laughed Dain. “We’ve fried it, grilled it and made paddlefish tacos the other night. We’ll be having paddlefish for a while!”

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