Phil Lilley, http://ozarkanglers.com exclusive
Vince Elfrink of Branson has a new personal best. And it just so happens it's a Missouri best, too!
Elfrink, fieldhouse supervisor at College of the Ozarks, loves to fish -- and hunt-- for that matter. A native of southeast Missouri, he came to the tri-lakes area in the late 1970s to attend College of the Ozarks and there he has stayed and made the lakes area home with his wife, JoBeth, and their three children, Joel, Micah and Luke. Despite his faithfulness to his job and his family, Elfrink takes advantage of every opportunity to either be in the field or on the water.
Three years ago he furthered his love for fishing and bought a bass boat and acquired his OUVP Coast Guard License and now moonlights as a part-time fishing guide.
This past Sunday, he left church and headed straight to the bank on upper Bull Shoals. He was in search of the white bass and walleye that have been running the last few weeks. Armed with spinning rod, swimming minnows and his hand-tied buck tail jigs, he sprawled down the mud bank to the water to start his "restful" afternoon of fishing. It turned into a bit of a circus though.
Hooking and landing a few decent white bass on his quarter-ounce white buck tail jig, he hooked another one – or so he thought. This fish fought about the same, but when it broke the water's surface, it had a different shape and color. It was a yellow perch.
Yellow perch are not native to this part of the country. They normally are found farther north and are found primarily in the Great Lakes. But somehow they've found their way into Bull Shoals, much to the chagrin of the Missouri Department of Conservation. In another words, they were not stocked by MDC officials but rather by a third party -- without permission. But they've flourished and are now listed as an official game fish, at least on the record books.
This yellow perch was a nice one. Elfrink knew he had something special. He made a call and found out the current state record was one pound, seven ounces. He thought his perch was bigger -- and he was right.
He contacted the local MDC agent, Buck Nofsinger who asked him to bring the fish up to the local Country Mart in Forsyth to be officially weighed and verified. He weighed in at a whopping 1 pound, 11 ounces, several ounces bigger than the record.
Vince Elfrink is now the Missouri state record holder for a yellow perch. The fish was picked up by officials from Bass Pro Shops. They will hold the perch in quarantine for 30 days and if it lives, it will be placed in their tank at Bass Pro on the Branson Landing.