◽️ Joplin News First chats with the record holder exclusively about reeling in the giant Brown Trout which weighed about as much as a kindergartner.  A Neosho fisherman now holds the Missouri state record for Brown Trout. Reeled in Saturday on Lake Taneycomo during a fishing tournament held in honor of his late friend.

Paul Crews, of Neosho, caught a 34-pound, 10 ounce Brown Trout using a rod and reel with 4-pound test line and a sculpin colored marabou jig. The new record beats the previous state-record by 6 pounds and 2 ounces.

Paul was fishing with partner, Jimmy Rayfield of Salem, MO, in the Vince Elfrink Memorial trout tournament hosted by Lilleys’ Landing Resort & Marina on upper Lake Taneycomo. They didn’t know till a while later it was the legendary ‘Frank’ the Brown Trout that would net them a win in the tournament.

Vince was a friend of both gentlemen, he passed away in 2011 of brain cancer at the age of 52. We asked Paul what would Vince have thought about catching old Frank?

“I don’t know anybody who enjoyed fishing more than Vince. I think he would have been REAL happy to be in in the catching of this fish, whether being the net man or the ‘catcher’, which he probably would have been!!”

‘Frank’ is legendary. And never caught to anyone’s knowledge. Not sure why the name given the giant Brown Trout. He swims around the docks and is frequently spotted in the shallow waters around Lilley’s Landing. When you were reeling him in, when did you realize you might have a keeper?

“At first my perception was it’s a four or five lb fish, I was quite excited over the thought. About a minute into the fight the fish ‘woke up’. At that point all I could do was try to stay close to the fish and pray my line didn’t break!”

And it didn’t break. It took about 20 minutes and then the two fishermen hoisted the record-breaker into the boat where it barely fit in the live well.

“Upon hearing it might be a record, it was a feeling of shock and awe at the same time,” he told us. It was more than a record though. It beat the previous record by 6 pounds 2 ounces.

The Missouri Department of Conservation verified the record-weight fish using a certified scale at Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery. (You can see that weigh-in on the video courtesy of Tommy Bench).

Also in the video you can see Paul and Jimmy pose for the last awesome and memorable photos from Ryan Miloshowski, Missouri Department of Conservation and others. Those pics are taken while filming a video courtesy of Lilleys’ Landing Resort & Marina.

Paul says, “upon releasing him, I felt that he had made my day and I was appreciating that he got on my hook. I was just returning the favor.”

“Probably one in a billion chance of me catching that fish,” Paul reminisced. “I praise the Lord for it!! 😊”.

Do you think you’ll catch old Frank again we asked? “HIGHLY unlikely!” Shannon Becker is a reporter for #JoplinNewsFirst #KODE12 #KSN16