PHILADELPHIA, Tenn. (WATE) – Pending DNA confirmation, a fisherman in Loudon County may have caught a new state and world record black crappie, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Lionel “Jam” Ferguson, from Philadelphia, Tennessee, caught the fish in a pond on Tuesday. The fish weighs 5 lbs. 7.68 oz., breaking a state record of 4 lbs. 4 oz. caught in 1985. The current world record black crappie was caught in a private lake in Missouri in 2006, weighing an even five pounds.
After catching the historic fish, the son of the pond owner contacted Loudon County Wildlife Officer Anthony Chitwood who sent Ferguson to several places to try to get the fish weighed on certified scales.
Eventually, Chitwood had to meet Ferguson on a boat ramp to have it weighted on scales used by a local bass tournament.
On Wednesday, TWRA Fisheries Biologist John Hammonds visually inspected the fish and confirmed it was a black crappie, but sent off a fin clipping for DNA testing on the small chance that it might be a hybrid between a black and white crappie. Testing will take a few weeks.
Ferguson gives credit to God for the catch and is grateful to the pond owner for allowing him to fish. He says he did not want the name of the owner or pond revealed out of respect.