For over 30 years, Larry Malicki held an Indiana fishing record of reeling in a record-breaking burbot he caught in Indiana. However, when Scott Skafar broke that record two times in one day in December, he only had bragging rights for a short time.
As it turns out, just 11 days later, angler Phillip Duracz became the new record holder in Indiana when he reeled in an 11.4-pound burbot on Lake Michigan on Tuesday, Jan. 10, according to a press release from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
However, previously, on Dec. 30 last year, Skafar, who hailed from Valparaiso, Indiana, reeled in two record-setting burbots.
One was 10.2 pounds, and the other was nearly 9.7 pounds. His catches broke the state’s 32-year-old record. However, he later said he knew it was only a matter of time until someone broke his record.
Just days before Duracz broke his record, he admitted to outlets it wouldn’t be for long. “Now that I know that there’s several of (burbot) out there, I’m kind of eager to see if I can break my own record,” Skafar said. “I feel that now that the ball is rolling… (the record) is gonna be broken a lot quicker now.”
Before Skafar and Duracz reeled in their fish, records from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources show Indiana’s record-setting burbot weighed 7 pounds and 11 ounces. It was caught over 30 years ago in 1990 by Malicki.
According to Ben Dickinson, a fisheries research biologist, instead of luck, the anglers may have gotten their catches thanks to environmental changes.
32-year-old fish record in Indiana falls three times in just two weeks
“The recent warm weather coupled with light winds has provided excellent opportunities for anglers to fish Lake Michigan at a time they are usually unable to safely access the lake,” Dickinson said in a statement.
According to reports, burbots are bottom-dwelling fish. They swim up to the surface of Lake Michigan from November and April when water temperatures are at their coldest.
According to Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, the freshwater fish is often “described as a cross between a catfish and an eel.” State officials added that you’d only get the chance to see one in Indiana on Lake Michigan.
In addition, the fish species is safe to consume. It has “firm, white flesh and a large liver, similar to cod,” per reports from the Indiana DNR.
The wildlife agency also reports Duracz had made a reputation for himself as an avid, successful angler. In fact, his 11.4-pound catch isn’t the only Indiana fishing record he’s broken.
Currently, he is the reigning champ regarding the record for lake whitefish. According to the Indiana DNR, in March of 2021, he nabbed the record when he reeled in 9.34-pound fish on Lake Michigan.