It's official! A fisherman from Philadelphia, Tennessee has set a new state record for a black crappie he caught last month.
Lionel Ferguson decided to go fishing at a small pond in rural Loudon County. Ferguson, who also goes by “Jam”, said he had no idea at the time he would reel in what would be a state and world-record breaking black crappie fish, according to wildlife officials.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said the results from a genetic analysis verified the record. An application for a world record status will have to be submitted to the International Game Fish Association.
"TWRA received verification from Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign that Mr. Ferguson’s fish is a pure strain black crappie without any hybrid genes and is being certified as the new state record," TWRA wrote in a release.
The crappie Jam reeled in ended up outweighing Tennessee’s current state record of 4 pounds, 4 ounces. That fish was reeled in by Clyde Freeman in Brown’s Creek Lake, 42 miles east of Jackson, Tennessee in 1985. Ferguson’s crappie ended up weighing in at around 5 pounds and 7.68 ounces with the help of one wildlife officer who found him a proper scale to weigh the fish on.
The fish even busted the scale for the world record black crappie weighing in at an even 5 pounds, caught from a private lake in Missouri in 2006, according to the International Game Fish Association.
A biologist with TWRA sent a clipping of the fish’s fin for DNA testing to ensure the fish is not a hybrid crappie.
Ferguson said he’s appreciative of the owner for letting him fish from the pond, but he won’t mention the location of the pond for the sake of the owner’s privacy.
TWRA said a full-length feature story about Ferguson's catch will make an appearance in Tennessee Wildlife Magazine.
“TWRA wishes to congratulate Mr. Ferguson by breaking a state record that’s been held for 33-years and looks forward to assisting him with the world record application process if needed," TWRA Fisheries Chief Frank Fiss said.