Montana Angler Catches State Report Sunfish


Montana fishing data and retired lure-maker Pete Jellar was merely out to catch some bait from a backwater of the Flathead River on Tuesday when he felt an unusually heavy thump on the highest of his line. “When the fish first hit, I figured it wanted to be an enormous crappie,” he tells F&S.

“Then, whereas I was reeling it in, I assumed it’s maybe my best crappie ever.” Nevertheless, when Jellar lastly purchased the fish to the ground and observed it was a pumpkinseed sunfish, he turned to his boat-mates and hollered: “That’s a state doc, boys!”

Jellar, his brother-in-law, and a mutual pal have been concentrating on peamouth chubs and pike minnows. “We’ve been using considered one of many bigger flies I make to catch baitfish as soon as we started transferring into some 9- to 10-inch yellow perch and small crappies,” says Jellar, who guides for Captain Mike’s Fish’n.

“So, we decided to have some pleasant with that.” At one degree, Jellar reeled up and added his favourite plastic trailer to think about considered one of his flies—a Chancey’s Crappie Candy, which he makes himself and named after an excellent pal and fellow data. Merely sooner than leaving for the day, Jellar said to his friends, “You guys have been catching fish left and correct. I’m the knowledge, and I haven’t caught a think about a half-hour.” And that’s when he felt the thump.

photo of record sunfish
Jellar’s state-record sunny, on the seat of his boat. Greg Limberis and Duane Neilson

When Jellar observed the fish break on the ground, he nearly couldn’t think about it was a sunfish. “The place has been having been fishing has some really big crappies, but it surely absolutely’s not recognized for record-size pumpkinseeds,” he says. “A variety of those we get listed under are about half a pound.

” Realizing the fish had a chance on the doc, the fishermen took some footage and measured the sunny at 10 inches prolonged with a robust 11-inch girth. “On my boat scale, it went 1.08 kilos,” says Jellar. “So, we raced once more to the boat ramp to get an official weight.”

photo of record sunfish
Jeller’s pumpkinseed weight 1 pound even on the first official scale, but it surely absolutely wanted to be weighed as soon as extra. Debby Paine

Jellar launched the fish to Chancey and Dave’s Fish Camp (yup, the equivalent Chancey that Jellar’s Chancey’s Crappie Candy trailer is called for). On that scale, the fish went 1 pound even. It was shedding a couple of kilos by the minute.

“We went straight to the fish and sport office to get it licensed, nonetheless, they weren’t happy with Chancey’s scale because of it didn’t print out a label, or a ‘weight stub.’” says Jellar. So, they rushed to Albertson’s grocery retailer in Kalispell to put it on yet one more scale.

It’s illegal in Montana to modify fish within the water (to struggle the introduction of non-native fish ), and as Jellar’s sunfish dried out, his chance of breaking the doc has been quickly drying up. Lastly, they put the fish on a third official scale, and it printed out a stub that learns 0.995 kilos—enough to beat the sooner state mark by plenty of worthwhile ounces.

photo of record sunfish
It’s lastly official. Jellar’s big pumpkinseed, with the entire required paperwork. Debby Paine

Jellar’s slab pumpkinseed is the most recent in a string of Montana state fish knowledge to fall simply these days. Since March of the ultimate 12 months, a 9.58-pound largemouth bass, a 32.41-pound brown trout, a 4.21-pound longnose sucker, and a 2.39-pound Utah chub (caught merely closing month) have all set new marks. At barely shy of a pound, Jellar’s would be the smallest of the bunch, but it surely absolutely’s no a lot much less spectacular, as a result of the 0.96-pound previous-record pumpkinseed, caught by Nathan Bache from Increased Thompson Lake, had held the very best spot for 16 years.

“You already know, I’m 56 years earlier, and I’ve always wanted to get a state doc,” Jellar says. “I purchased it now. And I’m nonetheless giddy and overwhelmed.”

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