Experts offer explanations for so many record fish

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Since January, Missouri anglers have landed eleven record-breaking fish. Experts have some possible explanations for so many lunkers.

Joshua Cole of Reeds Spring with a 30 lb. 15 oz. freshwater drum caught at Table Rock Lake using archery method (MDC)

For many fishermen, like Michael Anderson, it's not just about the size or number of fish. "It brings me peace. I enjoy it, by getting with nature, gets away from all the chaos and controversy that you hear about all the time," says Anderson.

But it is nice when he gets to reel them in. "I was up at Pomme de Terre, and it was like dead for a week, and then the last couple of days, I caught like eight," Anderson says.

Some Missouri fishermen have had exceptional luck this year. They've caught eleven record breakers, some right here in the Ozarks.

"We love it when the record's broken. It inspires people to get out and catch their own record," says Andy Austin, Fisheries Regional Supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Austin says one reason he believes there are so many records is because of smart phones and the information people can get on them.
"They can pull up on their phone what this fish looks like, and then they can also get on the Missouri Department of Conservation Website to see what the record for that fish is," says Austin. The conservation department's Find MO Fish app is likely one tool they're using.

Many records are being broken with alternative methods like trot lines, limb lines or bow fishing. "Due to people just changing or trying new things as far as how to go fishing," says Austin.

Warmer weather also likely has something to do with all the big fish.
Anderson says, "Because of the warm winters for the last 2 or 3 years. They keep eating, they're more active, they're going to keep going, the lakes aren't freezing, so they'll eat more."

The highest number of record breakers caught in a year is 19, Austin says. "It's only May, and there's a whole summer of fishing ahead of us," says Austin. So you too may have a good chance of catching a big one.

"You teach a man to fish, and he can lie for a lifetime!" says Anderson.
This year, you could even have the record to prove it.

If you think you may have a record breaker, contact your local conservation agent to see where they can weigh it for you on a certified scale. To see a list of Missouri's record fish, click the link to the right side of this story.