Fortunate Snagger boats 146-pound world document paddle fish close to Tulsa – Information – Grand Lake Information
TULSA – It was Caitlin Lukehart’s turn to catch the next paddle fish.
But she was too tired because she had already caught several large ones and let her husband do the next round of the bar.
That turn of fortune on Sunday gave James Lukehart a likely world record paddle fish weighing 146 pounds and 11 ounces. It also broke Oklahoma’s current paddle fish record by several pounds.
Lukehart of Edmond, Oklahoma, snatched the giant on Keystone Lake, part of the Arkansas River west of Tulsa. Guide Jeremiah Mefford of the Reel Good Time Guide Service said he saw the giant fish on his fish finder, but it was sheer luck that Lukehart caught it.
“It was his first time and he was the lucky recipient of a monster,” said Mefford. “It was extremely windy, with winds of 20 to 25 mph and very strong rolling waves.”
Despite the harsh conditions, it wasn’t long before Lukehart got the fish to the boat, also because of the way the fish was hooked.
“It got caught in the top half of the fish,” Mefford recalled. “When they’re that addicted, they don’t tend to drag that long.”
Suspecting that it might be a possible world record paddle fish, Mefford drove to a nearby boat ramp and called the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife and Conservation. A fisheries biologist met them to officially weigh the paddle fish.
The 144-pound paddle fish, caught in a Kansas farm pond and currently holding the world record, has been eclipsed by more than two pounds.
Mefford said the conservation biologist estimated the fish to be 25 to 35 years old. It was still actively swimming and its hook injury wasn’t too severe, so the biologist allowed the fish to be released back into the lake.
“The fish spent very little time out of the water, just enough to take a few pictures,” said Mefford.
Oklahoma’s Keystone Lake isn’t the only place where giant paddle fish live.
In March 2015, Andy Belobraydic, who lives in Richwoods, Missouri, caught a 140-pound paddle fish during his first voyage on the James River arm of Table Rock Lake.
It broke the previous Missouri paddlefish record of 139 pounds, 4 ounces caught in 2002, including on Table Rock Lake.