Matt Neuling is going to need a bigger boat. The Missouri bow fisherman snagged a 125 pound and 5-ounce, state record-breaking bighead carp on a recent fishing trip with a buddy. The colossal carp may even be a world record. Though, if he hopes to hang this thing on his wall, he’ll likely need to re-enforce the foundation of his house.
Neuling was fishing at Lake Perry in Missouri on July 24, when he spotted what he thought was a large, but not record-breaking, grass carp.
“I was out with my buddy early that morning when we both shot what we thought was a 30-pound grass carp,” he told the Missouri Department of Conservation. “My buddy’s arrow pulled out, but mine shot straight through and stayed in there.”
He didn’t realize what he had until they began pulling it to the surface. Thankfully, he had an extra set of hands to help him pull in the 125-pound beast.
“We just couldn’t believe it,” he said. “We knew what type of fish it was, but we had never seen one that size. This thing is a straight-up monster. A five-gallon bucket could easily fit in its mouth. If my buddy wasn’t with me, there was no way I could have pulled it out of the water.”
The previous record for a bighead carp in Missouri was just over 104 pounds. And it may be a new world record. State officials are currently looking into it.
“It’s just crazy,” Neuling told the MDC. “You know, I set that goal of breaking a record every time I go out to fish, but I never would have thought I’d be breaking a record with this fish.”
Bighead Carp Is an Invasive Species, Officials Warn
Matt Neuling’s monster haul is actually a monster — of sorts. The bighead carp, which is native to Asia, is an invasive species that is plaguing the Midwestern United States. And Neuling’s catch proves that these fish are thriving and upsetting the ecological balance, state wildlife officials said.
“When fish get this size, we estimate it to be at least 10-years-old,” said MDC Fisheries Program Specialist Andrew Branson. “Bighead carp are an invasive fish from Asia. This particular fish is an example of just how well an invasive species can thrive if given the opportunity. We encourage people to harvest these fish to help remove them from our waters.”
According to the Texas Invasive Species Institute, the bighead carp was originally introduced into American waters as part of an effort to combat the growth of zooplankton and phytoplankton in the 1970s. But mismanagement and natural disasters allowed them to find new waters. They’re currently wreaking havoc in rivers and lakes that connect to the Mississippi River. Officials in several states ask anglers to not throw them back if they catch one.