Fishing takes on many forms and why one angler does it versus the next varies as much as personalities do. A handful of anglers after they get very adept at catching fish consistently progress into trophy hunters and chase records, including world record crappie, intentionally. But most any angler would be thrilled to catch a record fish whether it be a state record or the very rare world record.
While in bass fishing, the thought of catching a world record seemed impossible again. Then, it was tied not so many years ago. And in crappie fishing, the black crappie world record was broken just a few years ago and it “officially” has the title of the largest crappie ever caught while the white crappie record has stood for more than 65 years even though it’s just a few ounces less.
With amount of state crappie records being broken in recent years, there will likely be another world record caught very soon. Many think the world records are swimming around now in some of the souths best lakes. But I believe that the world records are likely swimming around in a smaller body of water in the most prominent potential states. States where there is bountiful forage and longer growing seasons offer crappie a long time to get to weigh more than 5 pounds. And with the numbers of 4-pounders coming out of lakes like Grenada, I figure it’s only a matter of time before we see another world record crappie.
Let’s take a closer look at the world records and some of the bigger state record crappies ever caught.
WORLD RECORD BLACK CRAPPIE
Biggest Crappie Ever Caught
Angler Lionel “Jam” Ferguson was casting a Kalin’s Triple Threat Grub in John Deere color when he got the biggest bite of his life in May of 2018. He was fishing a small private pond in Tennessee when the big black crappie hit. He landed his crappie and weighed it at 5 pounds, 7 ounces, setting not only the new Tennessee state record for black crappie, but it also happened to be the new world record black crappie.
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Not only was it the biggest black crappie ever caught, but to our knowledge it is officially the biggest crappie ever landed by an angler as the white crappie world record is 5 pounds, 3 ounces. There were rumors of a 6-pound crappie caught in Louisiana in 1969, but there are no details still to support it and supposedly it was thought to be a hybrid from the photos, so no one recognizes it as a record in the state of Louisiana or by the IGFA because it wasn’t classified as one type or the other. More on that catch later.
He bested the previous black crappie world record of 5 pounds even. You can see the full story of Ferguson’s world record crappie here.
WORLD RECORD WHITE CRAPPIE
Mississippi’s biggest crappie ever
In July of 1957 Fred Bright was fishing below the Enid Dam when he hooked and landed a white crappie weighing 5 pounds, 3 ounces. That record has now stood for 66 years although it’s reported as being caught in the reservoir not the river below it.
There are little to no details on this catch. It is said that he caught the fish with an Orchard Industries Action Rod with a Denison-Johnson reel. But no mention of bait, so most guessed it was caught on a live minnow. But for the most part that’s speculation.
The only mount of the fish was a replica. There are a couple of photos circulating as the official pictures of the catch. But outside of that there is not a lot of information. We’d love to know more on this story if anyone comes across some information that would be helpful.
Many believe the next world record white crappie will come out of Mississippi because so many 4-pounders have been caught in recent years in Mississippi fisheries. And anglers are getting better at catching the nomadic roaming big crappie on the larger reservoirs.
Some believe the record could come from Mississippi but equally likely in Alabama, Tennessee and Texas. These states have long growing seasons, but they also get optimal cooler weather that prolongs a crappie’s life. And they have very fertile fisheries in terms of forage. But some of us believe that the record will come from a smaller overlooked fishery near the world class trophy lakes.
LARGEST CRAPPIE EVER CAUGHT?
The unrecognized tale
So while this is a little tougher than the white crappie record information to track down, in 1969, for a time, the state of Louisiana recognized a supposedly 6-pound crappie that was caught from the bank in an airport canal on a cane pole and minnow.
In the book Crappie! by Jim Robbins, he recounts a story from another editor about the catch:
“Bob Dennie, editor of the Louisiana Conservationist, tells an interesting story of the largest crappie ever caught in Louisiana or, for that matter, the world. In November of 1969, Lettie Robertson was fishing from the bank in the Westwego Canal when she hooked and landed a crappie which was photographed and then weighed on certified scales at 6 pounds. A new world mark that would best either of the two current record holders in the black crappie or white crappie categories.”
“Lettie, glad that all the uproar over the catch was finally over, took the fish home and ate it for supper. However, Lettie’s crappie suffered a worse fate. The photograph could not reveal whether the fish was a white or black crappie, and since no bonafide authority had viewed the remains, it could not be recognized as a world record for either species. The state of Louisiana didn’t understand why there was so much fuss about whether it was black or white, they listed it as the state record sac-a-lait.”
Louisiana only recognizes the two crappie species individual records on their records list now. So probably back then they had no idea their state record crappie was also a world record and would be under much scrutiny. So it never came to be.
THE BIGGEST STATE RECORD CRAPPIE
There are numerous state record crappie weighing more than 4 pounds. In fact, 35 of the 50 states have records weighing more than 4 pounds. However only 5 states have crappie records weighing more than 5 pounds. Six, if you think the uncategorized Louisiana crappie claim should stand. Those states are as follows:
Arkansas — 5 pounds even — Lake Wihelmina —Donivan Echols — 2011
Georgia — 5 pounds even — Bibb Co. Pond — Theresa Kemp —1984
Minnesota — 5 pounds even — Vermillion River — Tom Christenson — 1940
South Carolina — 5 pounds, 1 ounce — Lake Murray — H.P. Owens — 1949
Tennessee — 5 pounds, 7 ounces — Jam Fergusson — Private Pond — 2018
A couple of states barely missed the 5 pound mark and are as follows:
Kentucky — 4 pounds, 14 ounces — Watershed Lake — Penny Hopper — 2005
North Carolina — 4 pounds, 15 ounces — Asheboro Lake — Dean Dixon — 1980
Oklahoma — 4 pounds, 15 ounces — Kingfisher Co. Pond — Frank Robinson — 1991
Virginia — 4 pounds, 14 ounces — Lake Conner — E.L. Blackstock —1967