HomeOutdoorsNewsTROPHY TUESDAY: Oklahoma angler culls behemoth bighead carp, lands first state record

TROPHY TUESDAY: Oklahoma angler culls behemoth bighead carp, lands first state record

by Jon D. B.
Oklahoma Bighead Carp Oklahoma state record Bryan Baker
Oklahoma Bighead Carp Oklahoma state record caught by Bryan Baker, May 2023. (Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, ODWC)

Avid angler and Spoonbill Wreckers guide Bryan Baker, 50, caught a bighead carp so large that Oklahoma had no choice but to declare it the first state record for the invasive species.

This thing is a behemoth, too. The carp measures a full 5-feet-long and weighs more than nearly all standing bighead carp record out there.

As the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) lauds, “We’ve asked skilled anglers to help capture invasive bighead carp from Grand Lake, and Oklahoma anglers have answered the call! Thanks to Bryan Baker with Spoonbill Wreckers for reeling in our first bighead carp state record at a MASSIVE 118 pounds and 3 ounces!”

Bighead Carp Record/Angler (year)WeightLocation
First Oklahoma state record, Bryan Baker (2023)118 lbs., 3 oz.OK
IGFA All Tackle World Record, Jeffrey J. Rorex (2005)90 lbs., 0 oz.TN
Oklahoma catch (snagged, not baited), Gabe Brannick (2023)110 lbs., 2 oz.OK

“Bighead carp consume large quantities of zooplankton, aquatic insect larvae and adults. Because of their feeding habits, bighead carp are a direct competitor with our native species like paddlefish, and bigmouth buffalo; as well as all larval and juvenile fishes and native mussels,” ODWC notes.

So if you’re out there catching carp yourself, Oklahomans, DO NOT RETURN IT TO THE WATER. Please report any caught bighead carp to ODWC’s Porter Office at 918-683-1031 or 918-200-4815.

The story behind Bryan Baker’s Behemoth Bighead Carp

“I was in 12-feet of water when I spotted the huge fish on my boat’s Livescope sonar, made a cast, snagged the fish, and had it at the boat and in it in just six minutes,” Baker told Outdoor Life after his record catch.

“I don’t mess around with these big fish,” he adds. “So when I got her close to my boat, I grabbed her with my hands and hauled her aboard.”

For 14 years, Baker has run the Spoonbill Wreckers guide service. As the name hints, he tends to focus on spoonbills, or paddlefish, on excursions. Yet he’s found a new passion for removing these giant invasive carp, too. He does so with a Garmin Livescope sonar front-mounted to his 22-foot Lowe aluminum boat.

This combo works wonders, too. “I’ve caught 21 bigheads this year, and on Thursday I caught 11 fish, three of which each weighed over 100 pounds,” he continues to Outdoor Life.

“Three days before I caught her, I was fishing with my buddy Jimbo Hollon and his son Nailrod and we spotted the big girl on my Livescope,” Baker recalls. When Himbo saw this eventual record-setter, his response was: “Holy cow, that fish is the size of a Volkswagen!”

But this was no one-and-done trophy catch. Using heavy-duty tackle and 100-pound test braided line, he thought he was bringing this gargantuan carp in. She would get away not once, but twice.

“I got her hooked the second time, but the hook tore through her soft flesh. But 30 minutes later I hooked her again and finally put her in my boat,” Baker says.

And the rest is history. Or the first Oklahoma state record of its kind, to be precise.

Big congrats to Baker! For more Trophy Tuesday action, see this Flathead catfish record shattered by Pennsylvania angler’s 66-pound ‘monster.’