Ripley County angler harvests record American eel
(WSIL) – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) congratulates Carlin Allison of Doniphan on a rare feat – catching a state record American eel.
Allison was fishing for cat on the Current River on July 26 when he brought the 6-pound, 15-ounce eel back on her rod. This makes the state’s ninth record fish recorded in 2021.
“I was using skipjack bait and originally thought I was pulling a catfish,” Allison recalls. “My mate and I were out around 3am, so it was dark outside and I couldn’t see very well, but it made a hell of a fight!”
Allison said he was about to cut the line after finding the eel at the end, but his friend immediately stopped him.
“I didn’t know what to do with it, but my boyfriend stopped me and said, ‘Hey, that’s a big eel, wait!’ “, did he declare. “Sure enough, we searched for him online and it was obvious he was bigger than what was listed.”
The eel was weighed on a certified scale in Doniphan. The previous record of a 4-pound, 8-ounce eel caught in the Meramec River in 1993.
The American eel is listed as Special Concern in Missouri and is a rare catch, but likely occurs occasionally in all of the state’s major rivers. American eels control aquatic insects, crayfish and other fish, and they serve as prey for other predators.
“I knew we had eels in Missouri, but never that big,” Allison said. “I really don’t know what I think about holding this state record. I guess I have the right to brag!