State record sunfish landed in Greene County gravel pit
Bellbrook, Ohio — Kevin Shanks knew what he was fishing for and he got it.
Shanks, on April 22, landed a longear sunfish in a gravel pit in Greene County that qualified as a new state record, according to the Outdoor Writers of Ohio.
Shanks’ sunfish weighed 0.41 pounds and measured eight inches in both length and girth. Shanks caught the fish on a Arkie Sexee Tail, a shad-imitating swimbait. He was using 4-pound test line.
His catch replaces the previous state record longear sunfish that was caught in Big Darby Creek by Brian Zimmerman on June 6, 2004, weighing 0.2 pounds and measuring 6½ inches long.
“I catch a lot of crappies on those lures,” Shanks, 30, said in an interview with Ohio Outdoor News.
Shanks was fishing with his father in the gravel pit near Spring Valley in Greene County when he made the record catch.
“I caught a bunch of fish that day so I’m trying to remember exactly when I caught (the record sunfish),” said Shanks. “We caught about 75 fish.”
Bass, bluegills and sunfish were all in the mix, Shanks said.
“I was actually going for (the sunfish) when I caught him,” Shanks said. “I showed my taxidermist a picture of a sunfish I had already caught there. He said I needed to go back because there (was the potential) for a state record in there. Two days later, I went back and caught him.
“I caught three (sunfish) that day that would all have been the state record,” Shanks said. “I just chose the biggest one.”
Shanks has caught a good number of Fish Ohio qualifiers in the past few years. He said he would like to go after more state records, though some of them seem out of reach. The state record for largemouth bass, for example, is 13.13 pounds and has stood since 1976.
“I haven’t come across anything else that is state record worthy,” Shanks said. “I’d like to try for the largemouth bass record and I’ve caught some big ones over the past several years. But, still I’m having trouble breaking 5½ (pounds) for bass so that one’s a ways off.”
Shanks said he’ll likely try for the sauger record next. That state record stands at 7.31 pounds and has been around since 1981.
Ohio Division of Wildlife fisheries biologist Debra Walters at Wildlife District Five was assisted by Marc Kibbey, Associate Curator of Fishes at the Museum of Biological Diversity, Ohio State University, in identifying Shanks’ catch.
Ohio state record fish are certified by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio State Record Fish Committee. Assisting in the process are fisheries biologists with the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
For more information on Ohio’s state record fish program contact Fred Snyder, chairman, OWO State Record Fish Committee, 754 County Road 126, Fremont, OH 43420, phone (419) 332-0777, email firstname.lastname@example.org , www.outdoorwritersofohio.org.