FRANKLIN COUNTY, Mo. — A St. Louis man caught a 4-ounce lunker earlier this month, setting a state record for a particularly diminutive species of sunfish.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) recently congratulated Robert Audrain III for his catch, a new state record longear sunfish, on July 3. Audrain caught the fish using a handline or "throw line," so his new record was set in the "alternative methods" category. He was fishing from a private pond in Franklin County when he caught the 4-ounce fish.
“I was fishing off my father-in-law’s dock at a private lake a little south of Eureka,” Audrain said. “I was with my 12-year-old son and we knew there was some good-sized sunfish in the lake. I was using my handline and it was the first line I threw in when we caught the fish.”
The sunfish was weighed on a certified scale at MDC’s St. Louis Regional Office. It’s the 8th state-record fish recorded for 2020.
“It’s funny because most of my friends thought it was a joke,” laughed Audrain. “Because of the fish’s size, they really didn’t think that it was a record.”
The previous record was a 3-ounce longear sunfish caught in 1993 in Lick Log Creek.
“The previous record was recognized before the requirement to meet or exceed the Master Angler Award minimum was instituted,” explained MDC Fisheries Programs Specialist Andrew Branson. “Even though this new record is below the Master Angler Award minimum of 8-ounces, it still beats the existing record.”
As for his new record fish, Audrain said he plans to mount it.
“My buddy’s father is a taxidermist, and I think I’m going to have him mount it,” he said. “But I think my son and I are going to try for another record. We’re pretty sure there’s a bigger fish in that lake. I think it’d be cool for him to beat my record!”
Missouri state-record fish are recognized in two categories: pole-and-line and alternative methods. Alternative methods include: trotlines, throwlines, limblines, banklines, juglines, spearfishing, snagging, snaring, gigging, grabbing, archery, and atlatl.
For more information on state-record fish, visit http://bit.ly/2efq1vl.