Be a Record Holder
Inside the Outdoors, July 11
, 2014

Recently I received word that Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Regional Supervisor Tom Qualters has retired. He attended many Forbes Trail Chapter Trout Unlimited meetings while I was present and served the Commission well over the years.

We wish him the very best in all his future endeavors.


Last week I was in Wal Mart where a young lady assisted me in directing me where to find some of the things I wished to purchase. We got on the subject of fishing and right away she said she would fish for no other species than bluegills. That amazed me in as much as panfish seem to be in the lead this year as the most discussed fish with bass second. ‘Where did all the trout stories go, long time passing…?’

That morning, I had received in the mail the latest Crappie World magazine with the title on the front – ‘Special Panfish Edition.’ It seems as though this group of fish is finally getting the attention it deserves. I came upon a chart in this publication on ‘World-Record Panfish, Fishing Hall of Fame all-tackle records for selected panfish.’ It mentioned the nine species, their weight and location caught. I thought readers may be interested in checking over particularly the weight of these fish. They included:

  • Black Crappie 6 lbs. Westwego Canal, LA
  • White Crappie 5 lbs. 3 oz. Enid Dam, MS.
  • Bluegill 4 lbs. 12 oz. Ketona Lake, AL
  • Redear Sunfish 5 lbs. 7 oz. Diversion Canal, SC
  • Pumpkinseed Sunfish 2 lbs. 4 oz. N. Saluda River, SC
  • Redbreast Sunfish 2 lbs. 1 oz. Suwannee River, FL
  • Rock Bass 3 lbs. York River, Ontario
  • White Bass 6 lbs. 7 oz. Saginaw Bay, MI
  • Yellow Perch 4 lbs. 3 oz. Delaware River, NJ.

(Information provided by Sport Fish of Fresh Water by Vic Dunaway, McClane’s Standard Fishing Encyclopedia and the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.)

Referring to the PFBC website, the following records of panfish caught in the Commonwealth were displayed according to species:

  • Crappie 4 lbs. 2.88 oz. Hammond Lake, Tioga County
  • Bluegill 2 lbs. 9 oz. Keystone Power Dam, Armstrong County
  • Rock Bass 3 lbs. 2 oz. Elk Creek, Erie County
  • White Bass 3 lbs. 15.7 oz. Conneaut Lake, Crawford County
  • Yellow Perch 2 lbs. 11 oz. Presque Bay, Erie County

Recently when Latrobe’s Jerod Trunzo sent me an email showing me a large yellow perch he had caught and released in Mercer County from Latonka Lake, the first thing that occurred to me was, “I wonder if he weighed that fish first before dumping it in the drink. It just may have surpassed the Presque Bay two-pounder that so far is the record setter in our state.”

Last year, I caught a one pound bluegill in the Lower Twin Lake. I believe that many anglers in our area have hooked very large bluegill, never saying anything to anyone because they considered them a ‘junk’ fish.’ When people pull in fish they easily catch and don’t get what they went for, the bluegill, for instance, they are looked down upon.

With all the attention of these fish now, it is hoped that one can log onto the PFBC’s website and browse down where they can get the rules of submitting photographs, size and pounds so as to possibly enter the large bluegill and other panfish caught and be a state record holder.

Of course, one need not limit himself to these fish, but any fish caught in the Loyalhanna Creek, Conemaugh River or any of the many lakes in our area.

My theory is this. If I can catch a one-pound bluegill out of Lower Twin Lake, how many other big panfish are making their home in area water basins? I have no doubt anglers are holding out on the state and not reporting the really big fish caught. I’ve heard tell, “I don’t want people to know I caught this big fish,” or, “If I have my name published in a book because I caught this big fish, it will be drawing attention to me and that isn’t a Christian thing to do,” and finally, “I don’t care about having my name published for catching a big walleye, I just want a tasty meal from this fish I caught.”

Human beings have built within them a genetic trait of competitiveness. For many of us that means we aim to strive to do a little better than the next guy. That’s true of all sporting activities. Do the PFBC and readers a favor. Inform the Commission of your record catch. By doing so, area waters will be recognized.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.