James Lucas, of O’Fallon, became the most recent record-breaking angler in Missouri when he hooked a giant skipjack herring on the Sandy Slough using a rod and reel.
Sandy Slough is a Mississippi River backwater area located next to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Sandy Island Conservation Area.
The new “pole and line” record skipjack herring caught by Lucas on Oct. 25 weighed 1 pound, 14 ounces with a length of 18 inches. Lucas used a white marabou Road Runner jig to catch the skipjack.
“My friend Alex Helms and I were fishing for white bass that day, and out of nowhere I caught a giant skipjack,” Lucas said. “The fish didn’t put up much of fight, but thank goodness my friend Alex was with me to net the fish, because once it was in the net it spit out the jig.”
Lucas’ recent record broke the previous pole and line state-record skipjack herring of 1 pound, 11 ounces caught on the Osage River in 2005.
MDC staff verified the record-weight fish using a certified scale in Defiance.
Lucas is familiar with holding state records. He also holds the state-record for the skipjack herring in the alternative method. In 2009 Lucas snagged a 1-pound, 8.8-ounce skipjack herring on Sandy Slough and set the state record.
“I still can’t believe that I caught the giant skipjack,” Lucas said. “I intentionally snagged one in 2009 to set the state record, but catching a state-record skipjack with a rod and reel blows my mind. I never thought I would hold two state records at the age of 24.”
The young angler plans on making a custom replica of the fish.
Missouri state record fish are recognized in two categories: pole-and-line and alternative methods. Alternative methods include throwlines, trotlines, limb lines, bank lines, jug lines, spearfishing, snagging, snaring, gigging, grabbing, archery and atlatl.