Is catfish bait really a dignified use for a record fish? According to one angler from Missouri, at least it is better than wasting it. Brent Newton of Holts Summit broke the state record for goldeye on March 5 while fishing in the Osage River. Newton was originally fishing for catfish and had used worms for bait, but when he pulled in his catch, he knew he had something special on his hands.
“I thought I caught a state-record skipjack herring once I pulled the fish in the boat,” Newton told officials. “I didn’t realize I had a different type of species of fish until I talked with the Missouri Department of Conservation.”
Skipjack was a good guess, but not quite. As it turned out, Newton did reel in a state record, just not the one he thought he had. At a neat 2 pounds and around 17.25 inches long, Newton’s goldeye easily beat the previous state record, which was caught from Lake of the Ozarks in 2012 and weighed 1 pound, 12 ounces. State officials approved Newton’s fish using a certified scale in Jefferson City.
Goldeyes are often mistaken for skipjack herring but can be identified by their numerous teeth, even on the roof of their mouth and tongue. These—generally small—fish are members of the mooneye family and are popular with some fly fishermen. It is not generally considered great table fare, although some anglers would brine the fish in salt and brown sugar before smoking it.
Newton however, has different plans. He told officials that he intended to use at least some parts of the fish as bait. Perhaps he is hoping this his good luck will translate to a record catfish as well? Newton says he is still in shock over his new entry in the record books.
“I would have never dreamed that there would be a state record with my name on it,” said Newton. “I’m super excited about it!”
Image courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation