Internet InfoMedia missouri angler breaks world record after catching 97 pound bighead carp

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A Midwestern angler broke a world record last week after reeling in a female carp that weighed nearly 100 pounds.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announced the massive catch by fisherman George Chance in a Mar. 22 press release. Chance caught a 97-pound bighead carp during a fishing excursion along the Mississippi River.

“Chance was bank fishing for catfish with a bottom-bouncing crankbait when he hooked into the fish March 19,” the MDC explained in a statement. 

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“Chance was fighting with the fish for around 20 minutes before he finally got it onto the shore.”

George Chance standing with bighead carp catch

Festus, Missouri, resident George Chance recently caught a massive bighead carp from the Mississippi River. (Missouri Department of Conservation)

The Festus, Missouri, resident told state officials that he thought the fish only weighed 50 or 60 pounds when he reeled it in. The mama fish was “full of eggs,” Chance said.

“You kind of know what a fish is once you hook into it based on how it fights,” the angler described. “It was moving pretty slow and I originally thought it could be a flathead…The more it fought, I saw it’s tail and knew it was some type of carp.”

“I was able to hook [her] with a hay hook in order to get [her] out of the water.”

According to the MDC, Chance’s catch broke the world record for largest bighead carp caught using the pole-and-line method of fishing.

The International Game & Fish Association’s website says that the largest bighead carp ever caught was 90 pounds and found in Tennesssee in 2005. There are unverified reports of larger bighead carps being reeled out of lakes and rivers, but the MDC maintains that Chance’s carp is verifiably the largest the pole-and-line carp catch.

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Bighead carp with mouth open

An Asian Bighead Carp swims in the Great Lakes Invasive Species tank at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium on Tuesday Jan. 12, 2010.  (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

“They told me it was a state record, and I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’” Chance recalled. “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 would I woke up that morning.”

Instead of frying up the gigantic carp or throwing it in the oven, the Missouri resident told state officials that he used the aquatic animal as a fertilizer for his plants.

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

In a statement, the MDC explained that bighead carp are an invasive species from Asia. Chance’s catch came at the right time – the mama fish would’ve spawned soon, if she hadn’t been caught.

Close-up of bighead carp underwater

A bighead carp Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019 at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois. ( (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

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“MDC encourages people to harvest carp to help remove them from Missouri waters,” the agency said. 

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