Potential world record set after man snags 146.7 pound paddlefish in Oklahoma lake

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Angler James Lukehart of Edmond holds the potentially record-setting American paddlefish that he snagged June 28, 2020. (Photo by Jason Schooley/ODWC)

EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) — An Oklahoma man set not only a state record but possibly a world record after he snagged an American paddlefish weighing nearly 147 pounds.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the world record for a paddlefish caught with a rod and reel will likely fall to a 146.7-pounder snagged at Keystone Lake on June 28 by James Lukehart of Edmond.

The massive fish was confirmed as the official new state record holder for that species, beating the previous record of 143 pounds set just over a month ago by Jeremiah Mefford of Kiefer, who was on hand to see his state record fall.

Mefford is a fishing guide, and Lukehart was his client when he snagged the huge paddlefish. Mefford provided a witness signature on the record fish affidavit.

The standing rod-and-reel world-record American paddlefish, taken from a Kansas pond in 2004, is listed at 144 pounds. The largest American paddlefish on record, taken by a spearfisherman in Iowa in 1916, reportedly weighed 198 pounds.

The paddlefish measured 70.5 inches in length and 45 inches in girth. 

Under the guidance of ODWC, the fish was released and monitored after official measurements were taken.

Schooley said Lukehart’s catch will become the recognized rod-and-reel world record after publication in scientific literature.

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