Two fishing guides running trotlines just for the fun of it in advance of the spring guide season had the fishing experience of a lifetime Wednesday morning when they found a 55-pound paddlefish tangled in one of their lines.
Ronny Lester, of Back Country Guide Service, said he and partner Joey Barr were running lines around 7:30 a.m. in the Ozark Isle area of
when they noticed one end of a trot line snapped from a limb. The other end of the line was taut but holding fast to a rock on the other side of the lake inlet. Bull Shoals Lake
“We moved up to the other end of the line. I took the line in my hand and gave it a pull. He pulled back, and the fight was on,” Lester said.
The trotlines Lester and Barr used Wednesday morning weren’t rigged for quarry quite as powerful as the paddlefish, and the 45-minute struggle to land the fish was anything but pretty, Lester said.
“It would be a $10,000 video if we had one,” Lester said. The fish firmly was wrapped in the trotline, and other drop lines equipped with sharp hooks were a hazard to the line handler as the hog thrashed on the other end.
“The lake was white capping this morning, and we wrapped the line around the trolling motor as we pulled it in,” Lester said. “We got him to within
10 feet of the boat. I got out on the bank and tied another line to the trotline. Joey got in the lake and pushed while I pulled.”
“I’d never seen a fish like that,” Lester said. “When its tail popped up, I thought, ‘What’s this? A shark?’ ”
The fish was carried to Persimmon Point Resort and weighed.
Ken Shirley, District 2 biologist for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, said the paddlefish was likely a product of Missouri Department of Conservation’s game fish stocking program. Paddlefish fry are stocked by the MDC to
and grow to run naturally into streams that feed the lake. MDC hosts an annual snagging season, Shirley said. Table Rock Lake
“In the high-water years, they come through spillways and we probably have a number of them in Bull Shoals now,“ Shirley said.