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Angler ties sunfish record in Missouri — and credits ‘unexpected’ farm animal

An anger was having a “slow” day at a Missouri lake when an “unexpected” farm animal made an appearance.

“All the sudden, a yearling cow heifer came down to drink,” John Goad told the Missouri Department of Conservation. “I moved down to give her space, and she crawls into the lake about belly deep.”

Goad was using a throwline — “a fishing line with five or less hooks and with one end attached to a permanent fixture” — at Frieda Lake in Crawford County on May 8. And he credits the heifer with what happened next.

“Every cast, I caught a fish,” he said. The Jefferson City man believes the heifer must have stirred up the lake’s bottom and pushed fish toward another area.

One of the fish he caught was a 5-ounce longear sunfish, according to a May 18 news release from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

That sunfish tied Missouri’s previous longear sunfish alternative record — a 5-ounce fish caught July 3, 2021, at a private pond in Franklin County.

“I’ve been fishing this lake for around 10 years and I’ve caught crappie, bass, bluegill – all pretty good sizes,” Goad told state officials. “But I’ve known there are good sized sunfish for about 7 or 8 years and I’ve been trying to catch a record ever since.”

He caught his first longear sunfish when he was 5 years old, according to the release.

“So I’ve been after this for 70 years,” Goad said. “Catching a record is a really tough deal. For an old guy and a veteran, I’ve seen a lot of things, so I was excited about this record.”

He plans to mount his sunfish, officials said.

Crawford County is in east-central Missouri.

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