Missouri Man Catches Huge, Record-Breaking Sunfish on First Time Bowfishing

A Missouri man has caught a state-record sunfish on his first time bowfishing.

Andrew Hunt, of Hollister, was congratulated by the Missouri Department of Conservation on Wednesday after snagging a 2-pound, 2-ounce fish that broke the record for a redear sunfish caught by alternative methods. The previous record was 2 pounds, 1 ounce.

Hunt was bowfishing at Missouri’s Lake Taneycomo on June 4 when he made the catch.

“It’s pretty crazy because this was my first time bowfishing,” said Hunt, according to a Department of Conservation press release. “I got up to the front of the boat and actually thought it was a big shad. I reeled it in and said, ‘Well, that’s not a shad!’ The guide saw it and said, ‘I think you just got a record!'”

A photo of Andrew Hunt on the Missouri Department of Conservation website, courtesy of Hunt. The sunfish weighed 2 pounds, 2 ounces.
Missouri Department of Conservation/Andrew Hunt

The weight of the fish was verified using a certified scale. According to the press release, Hunt plans to have the fish mounted.

In Missouri, state-record fish fall under one of two categories depending on how they were caught: pole-and-line or alternative methods. This latter category includes spearfishing, crossbow, throwline, grabbing and more.

According to the Fisheries Blog, bowfishing—the method Hunt used—involves catching fish via a bow and arrow, with a line attached to the arrow.

The redear sunfish—also known as the shellcracker, bream and stumpknocker—has a distinctive bright red mark on the back edge of its gill cover, per the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. It is distributed across various regions of America, said the United States Geological Survey.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, the fish has a length of between 8 to 10-and-a-half inches and a weight of 6-and-a-half to 12 ounces. However, they can grow to more than 12 inches and weigh more than 4 pounds.

The fish are stocked in small ponds and hatcheries to control the spread of certain aquatic parasites.

It’s not the only large fish to be caught recently. Earlier this year, a man caught a “monster” largemouth bass described by the fisherman as the “biggest bass I’ve ever caught in my life.” It was snagged by Scott Flitcraft as he was fishing from a kayak on Lake Isabella in California.

In a video posted to Facebook, Flitcraft held the fish up, estimating that it weighed 8 or 10 pounds. He then released it back into the water.

In Maine, a rare all-orange lobster was caught by fisherman Jacob Knowles. Footage of the lobster and its subsequent release was posted to TikTok where it gained hundreds of thousands of views earlier this year.

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