East TN angler catches state record-breaking black crappie
A Philadelphia, Tennessee, angler has made quite the record-breaking catch.
Lionel "Jam" Ferguson caught a record-breaking black crappie from a pond near Paint Rock, Tennessee. The fish weighed 5 pounds 7.68 ounces. The previous record holder's catch weighed 4 pounds 4 ounces.
"Although not part of the state record requirements, Mr. Ferguson’s fish measures 19 ¼ inches in length with a girth of 17 ¾ inches," a TWRA spokesperson said.
Ferguson had to wait about five weeks to find out if he had really broken the record set 33 years ago. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency received verification from Prarie Research Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign this week that Ferguson's fish is a pure strain black crappie without any hybrid genes and is being certified as the new state record.
"At the time it was caught, TWRA Fisheries Biologist John Hammonds verified the fish as a black crappie but submitted a fin clipping for genetic testing in order to rule out the minute chance of hybridization between a black and white crappie," a TWRA spokesperson explained.
Ferguson's black crappie is also a potential world record catch. The current world record black crappie weighed five pounds, according to the International Game Fish Association.
“TWRA wishes to congratulate Mr. Ferguson by breaking a state record that’s been held for 33-years and we encourage him to apply for the world record,” TWRA Fisheries Chief Frank Fiss said.
The TWRA has offered to assist Ferguson with the world record application process.