If your fish story gets bigger and bigger every time you tell it you might have some big competition. A new Arkansas State Record was made for the biggest fish last Saturday, June 15.

It all took place at Beaver Lake in Northwest Arkansas. This lake is great for fishing bass, crappie and striper fishing. Now this lake is getting a reputation for fishing paddlefish too.

Photo by Brady Rogers on Unsplash
Photo by Brady Rogers on Unsplash
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Mike Sheleeper of Garfield, Arkansas just got his name into the state record books for a doozy of a fish.  Saturday he caught a 127-pound, 6-ounce paddlefish. The previous state record was 118 pounds which was caught by James Johnson back in 2020.

AGFC
AGFC
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According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission,

Schleeper was trolling brooder minnows around 30 feet deep near Point 6 with his fishing partner Tom Mayberry when the catch took place.

AGFC, Mike Schleeper
AGFC, Mike Schleeper
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It took a total of 45 minutes to reel the fish in. At first, the men thought it was a big striper but as they got closer to it they realized it was a paddlefish, a big paddlefish.

The record-breaking paddlefish was hooked in one of its fins while the men were trolling.

AGFC, Mike Schleeper
AGFC, Mike Schleeper
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The AGFC says that snagged fish usually don't count toward state records in many states, but paddlefish are accepted because these fish don't bite lures. When they are caught, it is likely because they have been snagged.

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