Perryville man 'never thought' he'd break a state record until he landed invasive 125-pound carp
A Perryville man broke state records after shooting a massive carp in July.
Matt Neuling was bowfishing with a friend at Lake Perry when he shot a 125-pound, 5-ounce bighead carp July 24.
“I was out with my buddy early that morning when we both shot what we thought was a 30-pound grass carp,” Neuling told Missouri Department of Conservation. “My buddy’s arrow pulled out, but mine shot straight through and stayed in there.”
Neuling's friend shot another arrow into the fish. Both were shocked when they discovered just how big the carp was.
“We just couldn’t believe it,” he said. “We knew what type of fish it was, but we had never seen one that size. This thing is a straight up monster. A five-gallon bucket could easily fit in its mouth. If my buddy wasn’t with me, there was no way I could have pulled it out of the water.”
The carp was weighed on a certified scale in Perry County. It was the eighth state record fish recorded in 2021. This catch also beats the existing bowfishing world record of 104 pounds, 15 ounces, according to MDC.
“It’s just crazy,” Neuling said. “You know, I set that goal of breaking a record every time I go out to fish, but I never would have thought I’d be breaking a record with this fish.”
MDC Fisheries staff took the head of the fish in an effort to age it, while Neuling used other parts of the fish for catfish bait, MDC stated.
Andrew Branson, program specialist for MDC Fisheries, said the carp is about 10 years old.
"Bighead carp are an invasive fish from Asia," Branson said. "This particular fish is an example of just how well an invasive species can thrive if given the opportunity. We encourage people to harvest these fish to help remove them from our waters.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.