First-Timer Snags World Record

A first-time paddlefish snagger from Kansas hauled in a new world record while fishing Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks on March 17. On the first day of Missouri’s paddlefish-snagging season, Chad Williams snagged a 164-pound, 13-ounce paddlefish that crushed the previous state record of 140 pounds and outweighed the existing world record by 13 ounces.

“I was lucky enough to get invited to go out snagging with friends,” Williams said. “I’d never been snagging before. Never seen a paddlefish – didn’t even know what it was!”

Williams and several friends were fishing with guide Jason Smith of Smith’s Fishing Adventures. Shortly into the snagging trip, Williams hooked into something massive. It was their second fish of the day.

“I was thinking I was extremely weak because it was taking so long to reel in. My body was aching,” he recalled.

After the fish made it onto the boat, the group immediately knew it was a record. They later met MDC Fisheries and Protection staff at Three Brothers Meat Company in Montreal to weigh the fish on a certified scale.

Paddlefish are also known as spoonbill. They are a large, prehistoric zooplankton eating species. They are filter feeder, so they won’t chase lures or live bait. Anglers typically troll for them and snag them during special snagging seasons.

Williams said he and his wife kept some of the paddlefish meat and shared the rest with their fishing group. He plans to taxidermy the head.

“I’m honestly still processing this whole thing,” he laughed. “Conservation Agent Tyler Brown was in disbelief it was my first time snagging. He said, ‘You don’t have to go out fishing ever again! Nothing can top this!’ and he’s probably right!”

See video of the catch below.


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