You’ll have to excuse Scott Bargman if he doesn’t want to reveal his favorite early-spring fishing spot at Stockton Lake.
When you experience the kind of weekend Bargman did, you tend to classify that information as top secret.
Practicing for a Burton’s Bait and Tackle buddy bass tournament, Bargman caught a 61/2-pound largemouth. But it was the fish he caught in competition Sunday that will remain in his memory.
Fishing with his friend Tom Shewey, he landed a 6.58-pound smallmouth bass, not far off the Missouri state record of 7 pounds, 2 ounces, also caught at Stockton 21 years ago.
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“I caught that smallmouth in the same exact place as where I had caught that big largemouth a few days earlier,” said Bargman, 50, who lives in Smithville. “That was a surprise.
“We knew there were smallmouths in Stockton, but we had never caught one that was very big. I go to Canada, which is known for big smallmouths, and the biggest fish I had caught there pushed 5 pounds.
“Then I catch a fish like that here in Missouri.”
Bargman was using an Alabama rig, which allows fishermen to use multiple swimbaits that imitate a school of baitfish. After he caught the big fish, he posed for photos, then released his prized catch.
“I wasn’t going to keep a fish like that,” he said. “It was too pretty.”
What a fish!
Another Missouri monster has made its way into the record books.
A 120-pound, 8-ounce blue catfish caught on a trotline on the Missouri River is the new standard for “alternative” methods — that is, methods other than rod and reel.
Burr Edde III of Malta Bend, Mo., caught the monstrous catfish on a trotline March 21 in Saline County. He used cut Asian carp for bait. The fish broke the former alternative-methods blue catfish record of 117 pounds that stood for more than 50 years.
It still won’t go down as the largest blue catfish ever caught in Missouri, though. That honor still belongs to Greg Bernal of the St. Louis County suburb of Florissant, who set the rod-and-reel state record when he caught a 130-pound fish in 2010 on the Missouri River.
Youth Outdoors Day
Youngsters 10 to 15 years old with limited outdoors experience, here’s your chance to learn what the Kansas outdoors is all about.
Youth Outdoors Day, an event set for May 3 at Eisenhower State Park on Melvern Lake, will cater to youngsters who are just getting started in fishing, hunting, shooting, archery and other outdoors pursuits.
The event will be sponsored by the Outdoor Writers of Kansas; the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism; and the Friends of Eisenhower State Park.
The program will include four stations — shotgun shooting, casting, fishing and archery. There will be a free hot dog lunch after the activities.
The event will be free but limited to 50 participants who will be chosen through an essay contest.
In 150 words or less, kids should write why they want to become involved in the Kansas outdoors. Submissions should be emailed to Dale Schwieger, state park manager, at email@example.com. The entry period is now open and will remain so until April 20. Submissions should include contact information so that winners can be notified after judging.
Children must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or other adult, and adults must sign a waiver.
Prizes will be awarded to all participants. Other activities such as hiking on an interpretive nature trail and learning more about what Eisenhower State Park has to offer will be available.
For more information, contact Schwieger at 785-528-4102.
Park Hill South team wins tournament
Bryce Soske and Kaleb Lenhert of Park Hill South High School didn’t let winterlike weather keep them from catching bass in a Teen Anglers Tournament Series buddy event March 28 at Lake of the Ozarks.
Despite frigid temperatures and snow flurries, they caught a limit of five bass weighing 16.58 pounds and topped the field of 162 fishermen from across Missouri. Ross Thompson and Collin Kemp of Nixa High School were second with 16.34 pounds.
Soske and Lenhert fish Lake of the Ozarks frequently. Their families own lake houses there, and they knew where the fish were biting. They practiced during spring break and the weekend before the tournament.
They used suspending jerkbaits to catch the winning bass.
Missouri conservationists honored
John Karel of Ste. Genevieve, Mo., was honored as the Conservationist of the Year by the Conservation Federation of Missouri at an awards banquet March 20 in Jefferson City.
Others receiving honors were Dick Wood of St. Louis, outstanding lifetime achievement; Kenneth Kieser of Lake Waukomis, conservation communicator; Robert Snyder of Point Lookout, conservation educator; Nate Goodrich of Columbia, forest conservationist; Tom Draper of Jefferson City, professional conservationist; Steve Herrington of St. Louis, water conservationist; and the CFM Ad Hoc CWD committee, wildlife conservationist.
Also, the Springfield Plateau Chapter of the Master Naturalist, conservation organization; Ethan Green of Walnut Shade, youth conservationist; state Rep. Keith Frederick of Rolla, conservation legislator; state Sen. Wayne Wallingford of Cape Girardeau, conservation legislator; Shelter Insurance of Columbia, corporate conservationist.
Kansas award winners
The Kansas Wildlife Federation honored Joe Kramer of Pratt as the Conservationist of the Year at a recent awards banquet.
Others who were honored were Theresa Berger of Sylvan Grove, outdoor skills instructor; Michael Pearce of Newton, conservation communicator; Jim Mason of Wichita, conservation educator; David Royer of Holton, forest conservationist; Stacey Hoeme of Scott City, farmer-rancher conservationist; and Harper County Youth-David Berry Memorial Hunt, conservation organization.
To reach outdoors editor Brent Frazee, call 816-234-4319 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter.com@fishboybrent.