'I guess I’ve got bragging rights,' Doniphan man says after reeling in rare eel catch
The ninth state record fish was recorded in late July, and it was one of the more rare catches for Missouri.
Carlin Allison, of Doniphan, was catfishing on the Current River July 26 when he reeled in a eel weighing six pounds and 15 ounces using his pole-and-line, according to Missouri Department of Conservation.
Using skipjack bait, Allison said he thought he was pulling in a catfish.
"My buddy and I were out at about 3 that morning, so it was dark outside and I couldn’t see that well, but it put up one heck of a fight," Allison said.
After discovering an eel at the end of the line, Allison was about to cut it free when his friend intervened.
“I didn’t know what to do with it, but my buddy stopped me and said, ‘Hey, that’s a big eel, hold on,’” Allison said. “Sure enough, we looked it up online and it was obvious it was bigger than what was listed.”
The eel was weighed on a certified scale in Doniphan. The previous record was a 4-pound, 8-ounce eel caught on the Meramec River in 1993, MDC stated.
“I knew we had eel in Missouri, but never that big,” Allison said. “I really don’t know how to feel about holding this state record. I guess I’ve got bragging rights.”
The American eel is listed as a Species of Conservation Concern, or recognized as threatened, in Missouri. It is an uncommon catch, but MDC says they are found in every large stream across the state.
Missouri’s eel population lives mainly in deep pools around cover, such as logs and boulders, in moderate-to-large Missouri streams and rivers. The state’s eel population has been reduced by large dams, which restrict its ability to migrate.
American eels feed on aquatic insects, crayfish and other fish, while serving as prey to other predators.
"American eel is defined as "Other fish" and harvest is regulated under the Wildlife Code of Missouri," according to MDC.
All eels in the state are female. Males spend their adult lives in estuaries, where the tide meets the stream. Only females migrate inland and most spend their adult lives in freshwater.
Eels migrate to breed in the Atlantic Ocean south of Bermuda, and MDC says that it is presumed adult eels breed once and then die.
Missouri state-record fish are recognized in two categories: pole-and-line and alternative methods. Alternative methods include: trotlines, throwlines, limb lines, bank lines, jug lines, spearfishing, snagging, snaring, gigging, grabbing, archery and atlatl.
For more information on state-record fish, visit http://bit.ly/2efq1vl.
Sara Karnes is an Outdoors Reporter with the Springfield News-Leader. Follow along with her adventures on Twitter and Instagram @Sara_Karnes. Got a story to tell? Email her at email@example.com.