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Somehow steel bearings wound up in the belly of that Kansas state record crappie

Blog by: Bill Prater 2/17/2024
Alert Loveland Fishing Club Reader Walt Graul has passed along fascinating news from our neighboring state of Kansas: it seems that last year's new state record crappie has been abruptly removed from the record books. 

Last year an 18-inch white crappie was caught with a minnow in an eastern Kansas reservoir. It was subsequently officially weighed in at 4.07 pounds, shattering an old record set way back in 1964. But an anonymous tipster later reported that he or she saw the same fish being weighed in earlier at just 3.73.  After an investigation, Kansas Parks and Wildlife staff seized the crappie and used a hand-held metal detector to scan its insides.. They later did the same thing with an x-ray and (see bottom of this article) these (steel bearings) are what they saw in its belly:

This week Outdoor Life also weighed in on the issue, noting the previous Kansas record has just been reinstated. The angler with the new fish, who had apparently kept his prize at his home in the freezer, has denied all wrongdoing. He was quoted by Outdoor Life as saying he caught the fish legally, and that Parks and Wildlife had illegally come to his house and taken the fish away for that damning x-ray. A Parks and Wildlife spokesperson responded that its actions were so legal. 

The discovery of weights in the belly of the beast reminds us of a similar case in 2022 where two men were accused of stuffing lead into winning walleye at an Ohio fishing tournament. A lot of prize money was involved, and those folks got fined, lost the right to a fishing license, and had their boat taken away. There's no word on possible repercussions in the Kansas situation; the angler reportedly even got his fish back; he just lost bragging rights to the state record. 

If you're as fascinated by all this as I am, here is a link to the complete Outdoor Life article:

In unrelated but equally interesting angling news, the new Colorado state record for a BLACK crappie was set on Nov. 12 of last year, a big old 18.25-inch fish that was carefully measured and unofficially weighed in at 3 pounds 15 ounces. It's the new "state record by length." (Colorado bases its Master Angler program on either length or weight, something Kansas might want to consider. (Short of encouraging someone to mash a prize fish flat to squeeze out an extra inch or so to be legally kept for eating, it sure sounds like a way to encourage ethical angler behavior.)

Anyway, here is something else I admire about Colorado's new record holder, kayak angler Eric Allee. Eric and fishing buddies admired his prize, measured it and took lots of pictures. And then Eric gently released it back into the water to fight (and maybe get measured again) another day. I'm betting the Kansas fellow wishes he'd done the same. 

 #  #  # 
X-ray of the prize fish
Blog content © Bill Prater
Blog Comments
Trailerman, 2/17/2024 7:00:42 PM
Certainly makes you wonder how long these kind of shenanigans have been going on. Certain records seem untouchable and maybe there is a reason for that. They werenít checking for ball bearings in the 60s.
reddave, 2/17/2024 7:09:08 PM
Patient Name: Fish
Kithme, 2/17/2024 9:07:02 PM
Oh my. Fish got some balls. :) Something is a little fishy with this article. 4.07lbs with balls and the potential weight without balls is 3.73 lbs. that means the two balls I can see has to weigh 0.34 lbs. unsure if those balls are big enough to be that heavy. Maybe there are some we canít see from this x-ray.
Swigs, 2/18/2024 2:33:40 PM
Thanks Bill, I was not aware of either of these stories. The current state record by weight came out of a lake near Windsor. As you pointed out Eric's catch would have beaten that as well. It's refreshing to see increasing support for records by length. The weights records are antiquated, clearly open to cheats, and removes some potentially special genetics. Everything seems to point to a shift to records by length. Maybe Bass Pro Series will try it out someday.
Bill Prater (fishthumpre), 2/19/2024 8:27:01 AM
You really do have to wonder about all records set in years past, which is a shame as everything comes into question including honest folks who caught the fish of a lifetime. The only problem with length is, measurement is tricky, especially if you're anxious to get it back in the water, or sitting in a belly boat in the wind. Getting a good photo is helpful. A buddy of mine last year caught one of the fattest yellow perch I've ever seen, and it barely made Master Angler status. I'd normally guess the real problems come anytime money's on the line, but that doesn't explain weighting down a fish just to get bragging rights.
Coyute, 3/4/2024 8:10:11 AM
One of the reasons I stopped fishing in local bass tournaments was because of people succumbing to crap like this to win a few bucks. I recall one tournament where a mook (also the TD) caught the same fish multiple times off a bed in order to fill up his score card.
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