When Caden Connelly, 12, caught a huge crappie Saturday at Truman Lake, he became an instant celebrity.
After taking the fish to Everharts Outdoor Store in Clinton, Mo., to have it weighed, Connelly was surrounded by veteran fishermen, guides and even “Mr. Crappie,” professional fisherman Wally Marshall, who was at the store doing a seminar.
It’s not every day that someone brings in a crappie that weighs 2.74 pounds. And especially not a 12-year-old boy.
“He knew he had a big fish, but I don’t think he realized what a big deal it was until everybody saw that crappie and went crazy,” said Shea Connelly, Caden’s father. “All of the guides who were there told us they had never seen one that big come out of Truman.
“Even Wally Marshall said, ‘You just don’t see many crappies that size.’ ”
Connelly caught the fish while he and his dad, who live in Raymore, were spider-rigging with six poles out in holders. Slow-trolling in the back of a creek in the Osage arm, they had already caught 18 crappies on minnows when the big one hit.
After landing the fish, they rushed to Everharts to enter it in the store’s Big Crappie Contest. The youngster won the weekly prize, and he promptly used his winnings to buy two crappie rods.
The fish? It was kept alive and eventually released.
Now Connelly has his hopes set on winning the overall prize, having a replica mount made of his catch. The store’s contest continues through May 10.Youth turkey season
Big fish weren’t the only form of wildlife kids were carrying to Everharts over the weekend.
Big turkeys, shot by youngsters during Missouri’s youth season, also drew a crowd.
More than 40 kids took in birds that they entered in the store’s youth turkey contest. One incident was especially meaningful to store owner Mike Everhart.
Sadie Myers, 15, from Odessa, Mo., had attended one of the annual turkey clinics put on by Johnny Everhart at his ranch. He then guided Sadie and her dad, Mike Myers, when the youth season opened Saturday.
They had one big tom come in, but it was just out of range. The Myers took a break, went to Everharts to buy a turkey call, then headed back to the woods in the afternoon. Myers was able to call in two big toms and Sadie was able to shoot her first turkey.
“My dad and I both love inspiring kids to get involved in the outdoors,” Mike Everhart said. “This was a fun weekend for us.”The governor shoots one
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback didn’t have much time to hunt last weekend.
With his daughter getting married Saturday, he had to squeeze in a few hours to participate in the annual Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt at El Dorado, Kan. But that was enough.
Brownback arrived early the morning of April 11, met up with his guide John Moore and headed to an area near a roost in Butler County, according to a report from Michael Pearce of The Wichita Eagle.
Brownback shot the gobbler just a half-hour after the start of shooting hours. He posed for a few photos, visited with other hunters and then was on his way back to Topeka.
The bird weighed 21.75 lbs. had a 10 3/4-inch beard and 1-inch spurs.Progress of Missouri bills
A bill that would significantly affect the way the Missouri Department of Conservation does business has stalled in the Missouri General Assembly.
A measure calling for expanding the Conservation Commission from four members to eight, one from each of the department’s regions, is still in committee and appears doomed, according to Aaron Jeffries of the Department of Conservation.
Another measure, which would subject actions of all state agencies to review by a legislative committee, is still being considered. An amendment was introduced exempting the Department of Conservation from that review, but final action has not been taken.
A bill that would transfer management of captive deer from the Department of Conservation to the Department of Agriculture also is still being debated. At present, the Department of Conservation handles wildlife aspects of captive deer, while the Department of Agriculture monitors disease testing.