Fishing News

Montana Angler Catches State Record Sunfish

Montana fishing information and retired lure-maker Pete Jellar was simply out to catch some bait from a backwater of the Flathead River on Tuesday when he felt an unusually heavy thump on the top of his line. “When the fish first hit, I figured it needed to be an enormous crappie,” he tells F&S. “Then, whereas I used to be reeling it in, I believed it may be my finest crappie ever.” However when Jellar lastly bought the fish to the floor and noticed it was a pumkinseed sunfish, he turned to his boat-mates and hollered: “That’s a state document, boys!”

Jellar, his brother-in-law, and a mutual pal have been concentrating on peamouth chubs and pike minnows. “We have been utilizing one of many larger flies I make to catch baitfish once we began stepping into some 9- to 10-inch yellow perch and small crappies,” says Jellar, who guides for Captain Mike’s Fish’n. “So, we determined to have some enjoyable with that.” At one level, Jellar reeled up and added his favourite plastic trailer to one among his flies—a Chancey’s Crappie Sweet, which he makes himself and named after pal and fellow information. Simply earlier than leaving for the day, Jellar stated to his pals, “You guys have been catching fish left and proper. I’m the information, and I haven’t caught a factor in a half hour.” And that’s when he felt the thump.

Jellar’s state-record sunny, on the seat of his boat. Greg Limberis and Duane Neilson

When Jellar noticed the fish break the floor, he virtually couldn’t imagine it was a sunfish. “The place have been have been fishing has some actually large crappies, however it’s not identified for record-size pumkinseeds,” he says. “A lot of the ones we get listed below are about half a pound.” Realizing the fish had an opportunity on the document, the fishermen took some photos and measured the sunny at 10 inches lengthy with a powerful 11-inch girth. “On my boat scale, it went 1.08 kilos,” says Jellar. “So, we raced again to the boat ramp to get an official weight.”

photo of record sunfish
Jeller’s pumkinseed weight 1 pound even on the primary official scale, however it needed to be weighed once more. Debby Paine

Jellar introduced the fish to Chancey and Dave’s Fish Camp (yup, the identical Chancey that Jellar’s Chancey’s Crappie Sweet trailer is known as for). On that scale, the fish went 1 pound even. It was reducing weight by the minute. “We went straight to the fish and sport workplace to get it licensed, however they weren’t proud of Chancey’s scale as a result of it didn’t print out a label, or a ‘weight stub.’” says Jellar. So, they rushed to Albertson’s grocery retailer in Kalispell to place it on one more scale. It’s unlawful in Montana to switch fish in water (to fight the introduction of non-native fish ), and as Jellar’s sunfish dried out, his possibilities at breaking the document have been rapidly drying up. Lastly, they put the fish on a 3rd official scale, and it printed out a stub that learn 0.995 kilos—sufficient to beat the earlier state mark by just a few treasured ounces.

photo of record sunfish
It’s lastly official. Jellar’s large pumkinseed, with all of the required paperwork. Debby Paine

Jellar’s slab pumpkinseed is the newest in a string of Montana state fish information to fall just lately. Since March of final 12 months, a 9.58-pound largemouth bass, a 32.41-pound brown trout, a 4.21-pound longnose sucker, and a 2.39-pound Utah chub (caught simply final month) have all set new marks. At barely shy of a pound, Jellar’s would be the smallest of the bunch, however it’s no much less spectacular, because the 0.96-pound previous-record pumkinseed, caught by Nathan Bache from Higher Thompson Lake, had held the highest spot for 16 years.

“You recognize, I’m 56 years outdated, and I’ve at all times wished to get a state document,” Jellar says. “I bought it now. And I’m nonetheless giddy and overwhelmed.”

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