The Case of Moby Grass Carp

The biggest catch of an angler’s life is a monstrous deal and Sterling Allen was living’ the dream Saturday evening with a danged-sure whopper.

The problem was he didn’t know exactly how big  – - or exactly what he’d caught.

I got involved when Sterling called The Eagle looking for advice and to ask if we wanted a photo of a really big fish. The sports department called me while I was in  El Dorado finishing-up the story on Addy York. (An amazing young woman, a true inspiration. You can click here for that story.)

A quick call to Sterling found a man on Cloud Nine. He’d been fishing on Fall River in Greenwood County with his buddy, John Nash, Saturday morning when something big slammed his hook baited with a nightcrawler. After a five minute fight a long, silvery fish with large scales was netted.

Over the phone he told me he thought he’d caught a buffalo of state or world-record proportions – 70 lbs. or bigger. I was on my way after filing Addy’s story.

I arrived at Sterling”s home near 21st and Greenwich to find his driveway full of friends and family, staring at a huge fish laying in the yard. All were guessing the fish’s weight.

To me, there was no guessing the fish was a grass carp. A cell phone pic sent to Jessica Mounts, a Wildlife and Parks fisheries biologist, confirmed it.

Someone in the crowd quickly went online and noted the state record was 60 pounds. Sterling held-out hope it might break that mark. I wasn’t so sure.

Someone produced bathroom scales and we did the weigh-the-man, weigh-the-        man-holding-the-fish method. We came up with 38.5 lbs. A buddy brought over a set of digital fishing scales. They said 39 lbs.

Sterling Allen  has his hands full  with the big grass carp he caught Saturday in Greenwood County.

Sterling Allen has his hands full with the big grass carp he caught Saturday in Greenwood County.

Sterling and his buddies were shocked. My guess of 45 lbs. was way-off, too.

So a new-found friend didn’t have a state record but he had a bunch of buddies and family standing around, talking fishing, all of us envious because we’d never caught a fish so big in Kansas.

No disappointment, only smiles and laughter.

Great fish Sterling. Thanks for letting me in on your fun.