Missouri 13-Year-Old Breaks Own Father’s State Record Sunfish Catch

by Jon D. B.

It’s all in the name: Robert Audrain IV has officially beaten Robert Audrain III’s Missouri state sunfish record, as destiny would will it!

Robert Audrain III – or Dad, as Robert IV calls him – once held the state record for the largest sunfish ever caught in their home state of Missouri. Now, keep in mind, we’re talking common sunfishes, here. Not the monstrous ocean sunfish.

The former may be far tinier, but a record is a record! Ask Robert Audrain IV and he’ll tell you the same.

While fishing in a private pond recently, the 13-year-old heir to his father’s name also broke his father’s record!

According to the Springfield News-Leader, the St. Louis chap “used alternative methods to catch the 5-ounce longear sunfish.”

But it gets better. Destiny is absolutely at play for the aptly-named men in the Audrain family. As the Missouri Department of Conservation points out, Audrain IV’s father, III, caught his record sunfish on the exact same date of the exact same location the year prior (2020). How’s that for family legacy?

“We were at the lake fishing all day and having fun,” Audrain IV tells News-Leader. “I was using my handline and after about five minutes of trying I pulled out the fish.”

“I’m really proud of myself and pretty competitive so it’s cool I beat my dad’s record,” the young man adds. Now there’s an Outsider in the making!

Missouri Teen Hopes to Continue Family’s Sunfish Legacy

As for his record-breaking catch, Audrain IV hopes to mount it on the wall at home – right next to his father’s previous record-holder.

Missouri officials took the weight of Robert the Younger’s longear sunfish on a certified scale at MDC’s St. Louis Regional Office. With it, the young man set 2021’s seventh state record fish recording.

“We were actually joking that it would be funny if we had a new record on the wall each year that is an ounce bigger,” the 13-year-old adds. “I think we’re definitely going to keep trying to break our records.”

These two… What a perfect father-son duo.

When it comes to Missouri record fish like the Audrains’ – the state recognizes them in two categories:

  1. Pole-and-line
  2. Alternative methods

Alternative method catches include: throwlines, limb lines, bank lines, jug lines, spearfishing, snagging, snaring, gigging, grabbing, archery and atlatl, per News-Leader.

13-year-old Robert’s 5-ounce longear sunfish falls into the alternative method category. While his 5-ouncer is a record-breaker for Missouri, the species’ overall record sits at 790g – or 1.7-pounds. That’s a whopping weight for such a small freshie! The species itself is native to eastern North America; from the Great Lakes all the way down to Mexico. That unique “longear” name comes from this colorful fish’s elongated operculum flap – which gives the appearance of a “long ear.”

For more information on the state’s records, head on over to the Missouri Dept. of Conservation’s listings here.

Well done, Robert(s)!