When Travis Uebinger of Auxvasse, Missouri went fishing with a buddy for white bass and walleyes on central Missouri’s famed Osage River, they ended with a much more unusual catch than anticipated. Uebinger hooked and landed a giant blue sucker—the largest in the world, in fact.
“We were really targeting a whole bag–anything that would bite,” Uebinger said in a Missouri Department of Conservation press release. “We were on my friend’s new boat, trying it out, when I reeled it in. I didn’t know what it was, a sucker or a carp. It was my friend who said it could be a state record.”
The fish weighed 11 pounds 5 ounces on certified scales in Jefferson City and was verified by MDC staff. Uebinger’s catch beat the Missouri record for blue sucker, which was taken in the Missouri River in April 1997 by Randy Christian, weighing 9 pounds 14 ounces.
Uebinger’s fish also crushes the current IGFA all-tackle world record for the species. That IGFA record is only 2 pounds 12 ounces, caught from the East Fork of the White River in Indiana in April 2022 by angler Steven Wozniak.
Christian’s 9-pound 14-ounce Missouri blue sucker likely would have set the IGFA world record if he’d entered his fish with the association. But Uebinger’s sucker is the top fish today and will be a world record if paperwork is filed with IGFA.
“That would be amazing to have a world record,” said Uebinger. “Especially on a fish you weren’t targeting.”
While blue suckers are a tasty table fish and historically considered a staple food, Uebinger has other plans for his catch.
“I contacted several taxidermists,” he said. “Being in the carp family, it’s a little difficult to mount and it would have to be custom-made. Luckily, I did find a place in Springfield that would mount it, so I’ve currently got the fish wrapped up and frozen.”
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All About Blue Suckers
Blue suckers are bottom feeders with a wide distribution throughout the Mississippi and Missouri river drainages. They are native to the U.S. and Mexico and are found in several states including Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Dakotas, and in the Gulf of Mexico drainage in the Rio Grande and Sabine rivers. Massive schools of blue suckers once migrated throughout the Mississippi River basin. They are rarer today, likely because of the segmentation of habitat caused by dams.