Halley, son of Jenni and the late Brian Haley and a sophomore at Maryville High, was fishing on a private pond in Nodaway County when he caught the one pound, 14 ounce fish using the pole-and-line method. The previous record was a one pound, 11 ounce fish caught in 2009.
Halley was fishing with his uncle, TJ Allen, and other family and friends January 24 when he felt something give his line a good tug.
“I literally dove into the water and gave the fish a bear hug so it wouldn’t get away,” recalled Halley. “It was freezing! I had to go sit in the truck to warm up after that.”
Halley said the plunge into the water was worth it to hold a state record. MDC staff verified the fish’s weight using a scale in Maryville. It’s the first state-record fish of 2020.
The fishermen brought the fish to Maryville’s HyVee, where Halley’s mother works, to get a weight of the fish on a certified scale
“It feels pretty nice to have a state record,” said Halley. “I’m going to get a replica made of it. We kept the fish alive in an aerated
cooler because we wanted to get it certified. We ended up releasing it back into another pond.”
“Missouri is on the very southern range for the yellow perch,” said MDC Fisheries Programs Specialist Andrew Branson. “So, new records for this species are not very common.”
Missouri state-record fish are recognized in two categories: pole-and-line and alternative methods. Alternative methods include: throwlines, limb lines, bank lines, juglines, spearfishing, snagging, snaring, gigging, grabbing, archery and atlatl.
Halley has asked Jim Lawrence, Blockton, IA, to prepare a taxidermy mount of the fish so he will have record of the feat.