It may not be the biggest fish caught in Missouri this year, but a 15.5-inch white crappie was recently confirmed as the state’s latest record fish. Caught by Austin Campbell of Harrisonville, the crappie weighed 2 pounds and 1 ounce, roughly 12 ounces heavier than the previous state record. Campbell told the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) that he was using bluegill as bait for catfish, but caught this massive crappie instead. Since the fish was caught on a trotline, it qualified for the alternative record under that species.
“I didn’t know there was a category for catching crappie on a trotline until I saw an article on the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website,” he told state officials. “I saw the record size and knew we had a shot at beating it.”
The previous record white crappie, which was caught this May, weighed 1 pound and 5 ounces. Campbell caught his record just a few days later on May 23 in a Cass County irrigation pond.
“Once my buddy and I pulled the fish up into the boat, we were in shock,” Campbell said. “We couldn’t believe we caught a nice size crappie. We both thought it was very rare to catch a fish like that on a trotline.”
It is somewhat rare for white crappie to grow past 2 pounds, but far larger specimens have been reported. According to the International Game Fish Association, the current world record for that species belongs to an astounding 5-pound, 3-ounce fish caught by Fred Bright in Enid Dam, Mississippi in 1957. To this day, that record stands unbroken.
Campbell however, never aimed to break a world record, and he is quite happy with his accomplishment.
“We’ve always dreamed of catching a big fish and having some type of record, but we never ever thought it would happen for real. We are super excited and can’t wait to get back out on the water to catch more fish,” he said.
The angler said he plans on the getting the fish mounted as well.
Image courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation