The first state-record fish of 2017 has been landed, and by none other than John Paul Morris, son of Bass Pro Shops founder, Johnny Morris.
John Paul Morris got 2017 started off the right way, by bringing in the first Missouri record fish of the year – a massive bigmouth buffalo.
Morris said he and his buddies were out on the lake at night, with the floodlights on, going after some carp when this huge fish swam by their boat.
“We saw this big fish cruising toward our boat in 8 feet of water,” Morris recalled. “All of us took a shot, but none of us connected. But then the fish came up behind us and was almost surfing the wake. I don’t know why that fish stayed up like it did, but I got an arrow in it and my friend got a backup arrow in it, which we do with real big fish,” Morris told Springfield News-Leader.
When they got the fish on the boat, they threw a measuring tape on it; 39 inches in length and a girth of 32.5 inches. But when their boat scale showed the fish weighed 58 pounds, Morris knew that number was significant.
“I knew the Missouri record was in the mid-50s, like 54 pounds, on a fish from Pomme de Terre,” Morris said. “Ours weighed 57.7 pounds on another set of scales, so we knew it might be a state record.”
The guys contacted Mike Bayless, a Missouri Department of Conservation fisheries biologist, who met them at Lost Valley Fish Hatchery near Warsaw. The official scale at the hatchery showed the fish weighed 57 pounds 13 ounces — easily topping the 54-pound record set in 2015.