No, this is not a trick of your eyes or some Photoshop magic. The Missouri Department of Conservation announced recently that this absurdly large freshwater drum is actually real, and it was taken by a bowfisherman from Reeds Spring. Officials say that Joshua Cole shot this mammoth fish in Table Rock Lake with a bow and arrow on March 31. The fish weighed in at 30 pounds, 15 ounces and measured 33 inches long. It had a girth of about 30 inches.
“I can’t believe I shot a state-record drum,” Cole said. “I knew I was shooting at a big drum, but I didn’t realize how big it was until we got it in the boat.”
The previous record for the freshwater drum taken by alternative methods belonged to a 26-pound, 8-ounce monster from the Lake of the Ozarks. Cole says it took two arrows before he was able to pull his fish in.
“It really didn’t put up much of a fight with two arrows in it. I’m just glad we got it in the boat with no problems” Cole said. Once my friends and I got the fish in the boat, I knew that it was a state-record fish. This is by far the one of biggest fish I have ever caught in my life, and I still can’t believe it!”
Freshwater drum typically grow up to around 10 pounds, although weights well past that are not uncommon. According to the International Game Fish Association, the largest of these fish ever caught by an angler was in Tennessee, when Benny Hull caught a behemoth 54-pound, 8-ounce drum from Nickajack Lake in 1972. So far, that record has not even come close to being broken.
Not that fishermen like Cole aren’t trying.
“This was my first time out bowfishing this year, and I can’t believe I shot a state-record fish,” Cole said. “I’m so ready to get back out on the water and find bigger fish.”
Image courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation