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Marcus Miller’s record hybrid crappie

May 14, 2008

Illinois Outdoors

Big Fish Info

Species: Hybrid Crappie

Size: 4.52 pounds, 18.75 inches

Date: May 14, 2008

County: Jefferson

Marcus Miller’s big crappie has been confirmed as an Illinois state record for hybrid crappie.

Miller caught a 4.52-pound crappie on May 14 while fishing his family’s farm pond in Jefferson County between Centralia and Mount Vernon. The fish had a length of 18.75 inches, a girth of 16 7/8 inches and was 3 inches thick.

That Miller, 15, wound up as a record instead of lunch is thanks to Miller’s grandfather, Herman Rowcliff.

Instead of filleting the fish, Grampa Rowcliff convinced Miller to have his slab weighed on a certified scale at Dan’s Meat Market in Centralia. Next came a call to Mike Hooe, a fisheries biologist with the Department of Natural Resources. Genetic testing showed the crappie was a hybrid, since Hooe at first thought the fish could be a black crappie.

Instead, Miller’s catch erased the previous state record of 2 pound, 13 ounces. That 17-inch hybrid crappie was caught in Shabbona Lake by Brett Larsen (pictured below) while ice fishing in DeKalb County on March 9, 2007.

Illinois hunting and fishing

The new record hybrid crappie is also the largest crappie of any kind caught in Illinois, which recognizes records for white, black and hybrid crappie. Hybrid crappies are a naturally occurring cross between white and black crappies and are found throughout the state. Here are the other crappie records:

  • The record black crappie is 4 pounds, 8 ounces, caught by John Hampton in Rend Lake on May 15, 1976.
  • The record white crappie is 4 pounds, 7 ounces, caught by Kevin Dennis in a private pond in Morgan County on April 8, 1973.

“It’s pretty cool if it’s a record,” Miller told Rod Kloeckner of the Belleville News-Democrat. “A lot of people have seen it. All they say is ‘That’s a big fish.’”

Miller caught his big crappie on a $20 Zebco Genesis rod and reel and was using a nightcrawler as bait.

“Whenever it first snagged the line, we thought my line was going to break,” Miller told the News-Democrat. “I had some little line on there, nothing really big. Then my friend was out there fishing with me and he grabbed the line and helped pull it in.”

Miller’s fish should be the third state-record set by a teen angler so far in 2008. Earlier this spring, teenage brothers John and Andrew Chione caught two likely state-record suckers fishing on the Fox River.

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