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Missouri Angler Catches World-Record Bighead Carp

“I chopped up the fish and put it in my garden,” Chance said. “I’m going to eat it in the form of tomatoes and cucumbers.”

World-Record Bighead CarpWorld-record bighead carp; (photo/Missouri Dept. of Conservation)
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George Chance had no idea his day would turn from a good day of fishing to a record-breaking one. On March 19, 2024, Chance was bank fishing on the Missouri River when he hooked into the fish of a lifetime.

What he initially thought might be a flathead because of its slow movement turned out to be an invasive bighead carp. After a 20-minute fight, the angler was able to get it to shore, where he realized it was a sizeable carp. He estimated it to be “50 or 60 pounds at least.”

The angler decided to take the fish to a nearby recycling center to have it weighed to find out for sure. To say his estimates were conservative is almost laughable. The fish tipped the scales at 97 pounds. Chance decided to call it in.

“They told me it was a state record, and I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’” he said. “Then later they said, ‘It’s not just a state record, it’s a world record!’ and I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ I had no idea this would happen when I woke up that morning.”

The previous state record was 80 pounds, with the world record set at 90 pounds. Chance’s catch shattered those records.

Bighead Carp: A Monster Invasive Species

Bighead Carp
The bighead carp; (photo/NSGS.gov)

Bighead carp are an invasive species from Asia. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lists them as “Injurious Wildlife Species,” meaning they directly harm the areas where they have been introduced. The fish lack a true stomach, which means they need to essentially feed continuously. This leads to a depletion of nutrients for most other species in the area.

George Chance did his part by not releasing his catch. He notes that the fish was full of eggs. This catch did much more than remove just one invasive fish from the water.

The Missouri Department of Conservation asks that anglers do their part to remove the invasive fish from the water. Chance did just that.

Chance took the fish home, chopped it up, and plans to use it as fertilizer in his garden. It’s a nearly perfect use for the hard-to-stomach fish.

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