Apache native snags world record paddlefish

Apache native snags world record spoonbill-6/30/2020

KEYSTONE LAKE, Okla. (TNN) -A world record paddlefish was snagged this weekend at Keystone Lake near Tulsa.

The man who reeled it in is a native of Apache, Oklahoma.

A spur of the moment fishing trip turned into a world record breaking day, when James Lukehart and his wife Caitlin decided to go paddlefishing at Keystone Lake.

“I’ve had a lot of exciting moments, but this by far tops all of them,” said James.

Caitlin snagged the first fish, weighing in around 83 pounds.

“It was really difficult,” said Caitlin. “I mean I thought I was going to get pulled out of the boat.”

James caught the next fish, a 42 pounder. Then he handed the rod to Caitlin, but she was still recovering from the fight with the first fish.

“My hands were so tired from reeling in that first fish, that I was like I need a break for at least 15 minutes,” said Caitlin. “Like I can’t go right now. So he’s like alright I’ll go.”

Little did she know, she was passing on a fish that would break the scale.

“I was having to use my legs and my arms to keep my balance,” said James. “And not only fight the fish around the front of the boat a couple of times. She was moving a lot. It came up and briefly got about 6 inches from the top of the water. So we knew it was a good size fish.”

But just how big, they wouldn’t find out until they got it on the scale.

“The initial measurement on the fish was 150.9lbs,” said James. “And I looked over at Jeremiah and said, ‘that’s a state record.’ And he replied back to me and said, ‘Buddy, that’s a world record.”

The official measurement was 146.7 pounds, beating the previous state record by 3 pounds, 11 ounces. And now a new world record.

“I never would’ve fathomed that I would be in any kind of record book, world record book or anything for catching a fish,” said James.

Even though it was a once in a lifetime catch that she unknowingly passed on, Caitlin says she’s so happy for her husband.

“I’m glad that I got the excitement on video of when they actually did the weigh in on the fish,” said Caitlin. “They were all just jumping and screaming, and it was just super fun. I just love seeing him that happy, so it was fun for me. Like I’m glad it was you because if I had caught the world record fish, I’m pretty sure he would’ve divorced me.”

The couple decided to release the fish back into the lake, to let it continue to grow, so someone else could maybe make that once in a lifetime memory another day.

Their fishing guide, Jeremiah Mefford, was the previous state record spoonbill holder at 143 pounds.

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