An angler on the White River in Arkansas landed a monster while fishing from his kayak. A Facebook post by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) Fisheries Division, reports Robert Murphy accidentally hooked into a 102-pound paddlefish. Murphy managed to successfully fight it without sinking his kayak, then paddled out with the paddlefish bulging over the sides of his small, one-person vessel.
“Murphy was fishing for walleye in his kayak when he accidentally snagged the large zooplankton-eating fish,” wrote the AGFC. “After a battle that lasted over an hour, Murphy was finally able to land the prehistoric river monster. “
Similar to sturgeon, paddlefish prefer to live in slow, deep freshwater. They eat plankton by swimming around open-mouthed. The primary way anglers target them is by snagging, which is highly regulated in most states. According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, paddlefish can grow up to seven feet—with a third of that length being their large snouts. They can weigh nearly 200 pounds.
According to the AGFC, paddlefish are known to congregate in the river-like sections of southern Beaver Lake in the spring. That’s where the Arkansas state record paddlefish was caught—a 118-pounder legally snagged in 2020.