Saturday, November 28, 2009

State Record Trout Hooked In Taneycomo

Great Fish Story from

Arnold man reels in record
by kathy etling

Scott Sandusky, 49, of Arnold last week attained what many anglers would consider to be trout fishing nirvana: he hooked and boated the new Missouri state record brown trout while fishing Lake Taneycomo, near Branson.

A cult of the lunker brown exists in the hills and hollows surrounding Lake Taneycomo, a deep-water, Ozarks Highlands lake so fertile that the trout stocked there grow at astounding rates. Fly-fishing purists ply the lake's crystalline depths with carefully tied streamers and flies in never-ending attempts to take record-book browns in what they like to believe is the "right way."

But when it comes right down to it, big old browns like the one Sandusky recently conquered prefer nothing so much as the everyman's assortment of baits likely to be found in just about anyone's tackle box. And that's what makes Sandusky's story so compelling — he broke the record that many consider to be fishing's Holy Grail while using the most ordinary bait and tackle there is.

Sandusky and his three fishing buddies — Greg Lawson of Cedar Hill, Craig Thomas of Fenton and Scott Hawkins of South County — left his home at about 6 a.m. on Nov. 20.
The group arrived at Lilley's Landing Resort at 10 a.m. and wasted no time in launching their boats.

"The water (through the Table Rock Dam turbines) was running pretty good, so we decided to fish while drifting downstream," Sandusky said. "I usually fish with artificials but I decided to throw PowerBait as we drifted along because the (current was so swift)."

The boats had drifted to a point just past Cooper's Creek when one of the lines became snagged. Sandusky put his rod in a holder so he could work on the snag. As he worked, he noticed a hit on the rod in the holder so he picked up that rod and set the hook.

When he felt the heft at the end of the line Sandusky knew he had something special. "The fish stayed on the bottom," he said. "I (released the clicker) so that I could back-reel (whenever the fish surged).

"I've got something huge," he yelled. "I fought and fought the fish, and after about five or six minutes got her up to a depth of about three feet. Craig looked at the fish and said, 'It's a big catfish,' but I knew better. I said, that's no catfish, that's a big brown.

"She was three feet long, and her back looked like it was six inches wide. I knew it was a trophy, but I didn't know I'd hooked a state record."

All heck broke loose, however, when the lunker brown got its first look at the boat. "She took off," Sandusky recalled. "I was trying to back-reel, rather than rely on the reel's drag, and the reel handle was spinning free, hitting my hand, while the fish ran halfway across the lake. I continued to fight and got the fish close to the boat again, but then she went deep and made another long run, this one upstream. When she finally came to the surface you could see a big wake, almost like one left by a boat."

Sandusky worked the trophy fish closer to the boat as he continued to try to wear her out. She swam close enough to the trolling motor to almost give Saundusky heart failure, but Thomas saved the day by lifting the motor out of the water.

Lawson, meanwhile, yelled instructions to net the fish head first. Thomas was able to get the fish in Sandusky's rubber-mesh net, but she swam back out. "Let her go, let her go," Sandusky yelled. Thomas' next attempt was successful, and the lunker was lifted into the boat.

The four friends thought that the big fish might be a state record. The two boats motored back to the resort where proprietor Phil Lilley decided upon a plan of attack for certifying its weight, a step that must be completed before any fish can be declared a state record.

Lilley contacted Shane Bush — a fisheries biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation's Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery, where a certified scale was located — and MDC conservation agent Quenten Fronterhouse. Clinton Hale, the hatchery manager, was also present for the weighing of the lunker.

Sandusky's trophy trout was certified at 28.8 pounds, 37 inches in length and 24.75 inches in girth.

The previous state record brown trout, which weighed 27 lbs., 10 oz., was caught in 2005 by Rick Osborn of Camdenton.


Anonymous said...

WOW! said...

Yea baby!! I'm outa here. Lets go honey.