When you catch a fish so big that it breaks the scale, you know you have something special.
Such was the case for Lawrence Dillman when he went to weigh the monstrous striper he caught May 21 at Bull Shoals Lake.
Luckily for Dillman, there was a Plan B. He later had the fish weighed on certified scales at the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery and found that he had a state record. The striper weighed 65 pounds, 2 ounces, breaking the former standard of 60 pounds, 9 ounces, also caught at Bull Shoals in 2011.
Dillman, who was fishing from the bank, caught the fish in the early hours of the morning. At 2 a.m. the fish slammed the creek chub he was using for bait and stretched the 20-pound test line tight. Then the fight was on.
“I fought the giant for 45 minutes until I got him into shallow water,” Dillman told the Missouri Department of Conservation. “I then bear-hugged the fish and got it onto the bank.”
For Dillman, who lives in Rockaway Beach, Mo., the fish came as a giant surprise.
“Once the fish was on the line … I didn’t think at all that it was a striped bass,” he said. “I thought it was a spoonbill or something else. But when I got him to the bank, I knew I had something amazing.”
Amazing is right. The striper measured 493/4 inches long and had a girth of 36 inches. It wasn’t far off the world record for freshwater stripers, 69 pounds, 9 ounces.
It keeps raining. And the water keeps rising at reservoirs in Missouri and Kansas.
The problems are worst in southeast Kansas, where water levels are reaching historic heights. The water is 27 feet above conservation pool at Toronto and Fall River reservoirs, and almost 21 feet high at Elk City Reservoir. And the levels are forecast by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to climb even higher.
The high water has brought crappie fishing to a halt, closed campgrounds and flooded boat ramps.
Most reservoirs in the Kansas City area also have been affected by high water, though not to the extent that the bodies of water in southeast Kansas have. Pomona is 18 feet high, Perry is 10 feet high, and Clinton is 9 feet high.
New clean-water rules
Conservationists are applauding a new clean-water ruling that was announced by the federal government this week.
The ruling restores protection of America’s headwater streams under the Clean Water Act. That protection had been removed after two Supreme Court decisions in the 2000s.
Since 2000, at least 20 million acres of wetlands and nearly 60 percent of stream miles in the continental United States lost protection from pollution and other factors that affected small streams and wetlands, according to the Izaak Walton League. But after several years of study, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers determined that there was a connection between upstream and downstream waters, and that those waters needed protection.
To reach outdoors editor Brent Frazee, call 816-234-4319 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter@fishboybrent.