BRANSON, Mo. – The first paddlefish snagging trip for Andy Belobraydic III will be one he’ll remember for the rest of his life.
The 33-year-old Richwoods resident turned an already successful day on Table Rock Lake into an unforgettable one by snagging a state-record paddlefish on March 28. Belobraydic’s behemoth weighed 140 pounds, 9 ounces; breaking the old record of 139-4 caught in 2002 at Table Rock.
The fish, which was caught on the James River arm of the lake in Stone County, measured 56 ¾ inches in length and had a girth of 43 ¾ inches.
“I’m still sore this morning,” Belobraydic said in a telephone interview two days later.
Belobraydic had previously snagged non-game fish, but he had never snagged paddlefish until his friends talked him into taking a trip to Table Rock on Saturday. Before he hooked into the state-record, Belobraydic had already snagged two paddlefish. He released the second one because it was too small (Missouri fishing regulations allow anglers to keep two paddlefish).