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Sunday, July 14th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Sunday, July 14th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Angler lands world-record paddlefish in Missouri during his first time ever snagging

Chad Williams, of Olathe, Kansas, caught this world record 164-pound, 13-ounce paddlefish at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri on March 17, 2024. It was the first time Williams had ever been snagging. “Never seen a paddlefish – didn’t even know what it was!” he said. (Photo courtesy of Chad Williams and the Missouri Department of Conservation)

The 2024 paddlefish snagging season in Missouri got off to a remarkable start when an angler harvested a new world record fish at the Lake of the Ozarks.

According to a press release from the Missouri Department of Conservation, Chad Williams of Olathe, Kansas, snagged a 164-pound, 13-ounce paddlefish on March 17. The fish shattered the previous state record in Missouri of 140 pounds, while also narrowly surpassing the previous world record of 164 pounds.

Call it a bit of beginner’s luck for Williams.

“I was lucky enough to get invited to go out snagging with friends,” he said. “I’d never been snagging before. Never seen a paddlefish – didn’t even know what it was!”

Quickly into the trip, Williams hooked into the massive fish.

“I was thinking I was extremely weak because it was taking so long to reel in. My body was aching,” he said.

Missouri state record fish are recognized in a rod-and-line category, and also in a category for fish caught by alternative methods. Those alternative methods include trotline, throwline, limb line, bank line, jug line, gig, bow, crossbow, underwater spearfishing, snagging, snaring, grabbing, or atlatl.

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Williams’ group knew it was a unique fish the moment they boated it. They met with Missouri Department of Conservation Fisheries and Protection staff at Three Brothers Meat Company in Montreal, Mo., where the fish was weighed on a certified scale.

Williams said he and his wife kept some of the paddlefish meat, while also sharing some with the rest of his snagging party. He plans to taxidermy the head.

“I’m honestly still processing this whole thing,” he said. “Conservation Agent Tyler Brown was in disbelief it was my first time snagging. He said, ‘You don’t have to go out fishing ever again! Nothing can top this!’ and he’s probably right.”

Because paddlefish are filter-feeders, the most popular and effective way to catch them is by snagging. Anglers in Missouri have a 45-day snagging season that runs from March 15 to April 30. For more information, visit the “Paddlefish: Tips For Fishing” page on the Missouri Department of Conservation website.

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