It has been a record-breaking year for Tennessee anglers. Tennessee fishermen broke a total of ten records in the last year or so – seven Class A records and three Class B records.
Class A includes fish taken by sport fishermen using a rod & reel. Class B records are for methods other than rod and reel such as bows & arrows, nets, trotlines or other methods often utilized by commercial fishermen.
The most recent record and the one creating the most buzz right now is the new state record muskellunge caught by Steven Paul on March 2 (pictured above, upper right). The huge fish was 51-inches long and weighed 43 pounds, 14 ounces.
After talking to Paul, however, I learned his state record was certainly no fluke or accident.
“I musky fish about four days a week,” he said. “I couldn’t catch a bass if you had a gun to my head. I grew up in West Virginia musky fishing. Our family goes to Ontario every year musky fishing. We just live, eat and breath muskies.”
Paul keeps detailed records and says he will make about 15 trips to the water for every ONE musky he catches.
“I feel like they’ve got a college degree in what not to hit,” he said. “But they’re just fascinating to me. The payoff in the time and effort is catching the apex predator of the ecosystem. That’s what gets me excited.”
Paul caught his state record on an 8-inch Joe Bucher Glide Raider.
“That huge lure looked like a #2 pencil in its mouth,” he said.
Another Class A record came two days after Christmas when Barry Parker was fishing on Old Hickory Reservoir and caught a tilapia that weighed 6 pounds and 5.5 ounces (pictured above, center).
In mid-June, high school sophomore John Morgan was fishing on a farm pond in Polk County. What began as a trip to remove a snapping turtle turned into a fishing trip resulting in a new state record rainbow trout weighing 18 pounds, 8 ounces (pictured above, upper right).
In April 2016 two more records were set. Ronnie Leon Meade caught a 104-pound paddlefish on Cherokee Reservoir (pictured above, lower right). A golden shiner was caught on Kentucky Lake (Bass Bay) by Joseph Wayne Dennie weighing 1 pound, 5 ounces.
Two Class A records were set within two days of each other last March. Chase Rich caught a goldfish, which is a member of the carp family, on Douglas Reservoir. It weighed three pounds, five ounces. And a 6-pound quillback carpsucker was caught on Boone Reservoir by Thomas “Cody” Hyder.
The Class B records included a tilapia weighing 6 pounds, 7 ounces taken on Old Hickory Reservoir by Steve Creekmore in November (pictured above, lower left). Also taken by archery was a golden shiner weighing 11 ounces. It was taken last January by Billy Roberson on Kentucky Lake.
Two channel catfish weighing 18 pounds taken by different methods tied for a new Class B record. Billy Roberson had his second new Class B state record when he took his catfish with commercial gear early last March. John Burch used a limbline for his catch on Tims Ford Lake.
Learn how to qualify and apply for a new Tennessee state record fish here.