If you’re looking to break a fishing record in 2016, you might want to head down to Missouri. State wildlife officials announced this week that an angler from Warsaw recently caught a record-sized spotted bass – marking the 12th record broken in Missouri since January. Jason Reynolds became the latest record-setter in the state when he hooked a 2-pound, 11-ounce spotted bass in Truman Lake on a jug line. The fish measured 17.5 inches long.

“I really can’t believe I caught a state record fish,” Reynolds said in a press release. “I almost released the fish right after I got it in the boat, but I didn’t because it was hooked in the gills, and I wanted to make sure it was going to live before I released it.”

Reynolds’ fish beat the state’s previous “alternative method” record for spotted bass by nearly a pound. (Note: Missouri keeps fish records for pole and line, as well as alternative methods, which include jug lines, throwlines, trotlines, limb lines, bank lines, spearfishing, snagging, snaring, gigging, grabbing, archery, and atlatl.)

Jason joins a number of others in the big fish club this year, including Joshua Cole, who caught a 30-pound, 15-ounce freshwater drum in March. So why are Missouri anglers having all the luck? Some experts think that warmer weather and more active fish may have something to do with it.

“We love it when the record’s broken. It inspires people to get out and catch their own record,” Andy Austin, a fisheries supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation, told KY3.

The most fishing records ever broken in Missouri over the course of a single year was 19, so the state still has a way to go before it call beat its all-time high. Austin however, feels that anglers have a good chance of besting that number.

As for Jason Reynolds, he says he was honored to have just caught one record over the course of his lifetime.

“I have fished all my life and caught some pretty nice fish, but I would have never thought I would have a state record with my name on it,” he said. “I’m so grateful and proud to have caught that fish.”

Unfortunately, while he intended to release the fish, the stress of transporting it to a hatchery to be measured ended up being too much. Reynolds says he now plans on having the spotted bass mounted.

Image courtesy of Missouri Department of Conservation

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