On December 15th, 2013, an ice fisherman plying a pond outside Omaha, Nebraska caught a 19-inch black crappie, a fish that may have been large enough to beat the current state record, but he didn’t want to risk killing it to get his name in the books. So, he made a short video of the fish’s measurements, and slipped it back into the water.
A story from the Omaha World Herald says angler Andy Moore was ice fishing with his brother Scott on a cold, 15-degree day when he pulled the trophy crappie through a hole in the ice. However, knowing he’d have to drive an hour to a place where a Nebraska Game & Parks employee could certify the weight per state rules, he made the difficult decision to release it.
“Any fish that’s rare or a trophy fish or a Master Angler size always goes back (in the water) in my book,” he said. “It’s just good for the gene pool and good for somebody else if they catch it. I’m a firm believer in that. Too bad people don’t do it, especially in our Metro lakes.”
Later, with the help of Daryl Bauer, a fisheries outreach program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks, they calculated the fish weighed 5 pounds. The current state black crappie record is 4.8 pounds. The IGFA world record is 5 pounds.
“Everybody fishes for a different reason. Some for food, fun, adventure or the experience,” he said. “I’m one of those that just likes the experience of fishing. That feeling you get when the fish hits.”