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Angler lands record paddlefish in South Dakota

Angler lands record paddlefish in South Dakota
Angler lands record paddlefish in South Dakota
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Every angler has a fish story to tell. Some are about the “big one” that got away while others are about the monster fish that could be considered the catch of a lifetime, but few have a fish story like that of 35-year-old Bill Harmon. On Tuesday reported that Harmon landed a prehistoric paddlefish that will put him in the record books.

Harmon's prehistoric paddlefish was reportedly caught in Lake Francis Case off the Missouri River in South Dakota, and weighed in at 127 pounds, nine ounces, breaking the previous recorded state record by nearly seven pounds. Reports indicate that the old record of 120 pounds, 12 ounces was set in April 1979, and was held by Don Gregg.

Harmon reportedly told that after he hooked the fish, it came to the surface before heading back down into the deep water. He explained that as he reeled the boat moved toward the fish, and the fish came toward the boat, and after a 10-minute battle he had the fish at the boat's side.

Reports indicate that Harmon and his fishing buddy, Justin Bryan, tried four times before they were able to successfully get the massive paddlefish in the boat. Bryan reportedly revealed that after getting the mammoth fish in the boat Harmon stood silent for a few seconds before saying: “Now there is a big [explicit] fish.” When asked how he feels about being the record-holder, Harmon reportedly said it's nice to know anything is possible while fishing.

While Harmon's paddlefish is large, it is not a world record. According to, the largest paddlefish ever officially landed was 144-pounds, and was caught out of the Kansas River by Ralph Westerman in May 2004.

While 144-pounds is the official world record for paddlefish, there are reports that an even large fish has been caught. According to an article by, there was a 206-pound paddlefish caught in Lake Cumberland in Kentucky, which did not make the record books.