About a month ago, Todd McDonald started his day the way he normally does: on a boat with his wife and a pair of fishing poles.
On that particular morning in Thompson Bay, however, the three year Lake Havasu City resident caught what appeared to be a 16-inch bluegill that weighed approximately three pounds – an estimate that comes extremely close to Arizona’s Colorado River waters record for bluegill fish.
“I didn’t take that [fish] in or have it weighed or anything like that,” said McDonald.
Since the fish was never officially weighed, there’s no way of knowing if it beat the state’s record 15.25-inch bluegill weighing three pounds and 10.4 ounces caught in Laughlin almost seven years ago, according to Deanna Pfleger, field supervisor for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
“It’s close but it would have to be verified, seen and documented in some way,” she said.
The bluegill fish, which falls in the Sunfish family, looks similar to the redear sunfish, according to Pfleger. However, the redear sunfish can be distinguished by its red highlight around a big black spot located on the back of each fish’s gill, she said.
“This one, I think, looks like a bluegill, there’s no red around the gill,” said McDonald.
Arizona’s Colorado River waters record for redear sunfish is five pounds and 12.8 ounces and 17 inches, which was caught in Havasu a little over three years ago, stated Pfleger.
According to Tim Blanchard, a nine-year employee of Bass Tackle Master, to compete for a state record, fish caught in Mohave County have to be officially weighed and documented at their shop in Havasu, which uses official AZGF scales. Sometimes, AZGF can weigh the fish on the water, he added.
“It’s an ongoing joke that all fishermen are liars,” he said as he explained the importance of weighing fish.
According to AZGF website, to win a state record, the new fish must outweigh the standing record fish of the same species by one full ounce.
The most recent Colorado River waters record to have been broken in Havasu was the smallmouth bass in February, which weighed six pounds and 4.48 ounces and was 21 inches in length, stated Pfleger.