World Record Crappie: Unveiling the Impressive Catch

world record crappie

As an avid angler, I couldn’t help but become intrigued by the captivating world record crappie catch. Known for their wide, flat body shape and scrumptious taste, crappie attracts both seasoned and novice fishermen. In this article, I’ll share some interesting facts and stories surrounding the world record crappie catches. Dive in with me as we explore the most remarkable crappie catches in history and how they continue to inspire anglers today.

Throughout the years, many impressive crappie catches have made headlines, with some even breaking long-standing records. One notable catch, made in 1957, was by Fred Bright from Mississippi, who reeled in a white crappie that weighed a staggering 5 pounds, 3 ounces. This massive catch has held its title as the world record for over half a century. Similarly, 59-year-old state records in Kansas were shattered in recent times when a lucky angler caught a 4.07-pound, 18-inch white crappie. These, among other impressive catches, have made the pursuit of record-breaking crappie an increasingly popular challenge among anglers.

Beyond the excitement of chasing records, crappie fishing has become an integral part of many fishing communities across the United States. Anglers from all walks of life and different levels of experience gather to share tips and techniques, hoping to improve their chances of landing a record-breaking fish. It’s not just about the glory that comes with securing a spot in the record books; it’s also about the pride and satisfaction of mastering the art of crappie fishing and sharing those experiences with fellow enthusiasts. So join me, and let’s further explore the fascinating world of world-record crappie catches!

World Record Crappie Overview

As an avid angler, I’ve often been fascinated by world record catches, especially when it comes to crappie. In this section, we’ll delve into the world record crappie and the story behind it.

The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) recognizes the white crappie caught on July 31, 1957 as the all-tackle world record. This monstrous fish weighed 5 pounds, 3 ounces, and was caught by Fred Bright at Enid Dam on the Yocona River in Yolabusha County, Mississippi. The length of the crappie measured an impressive 21 inches.

When Fred caught this record-breaking crappie, he was using artificial bait and a Denison Johnson reel on a fast action rod. Interestingly, this world record has remained unbroken for over half a century, emphasizing the remarkable size of this white crappie.

Now, let me share a few key facts about the world record crappie:

  • Species: White crappie
  • Weight: 5 pounds, 3 ounces (2.35 kg)
  • Date caught: July 31, 1957
  • Location: Enid Dam, Yocona River, Mississippi
  • Certification: IGFA-certified all-tackle world record

It’s important to note that many anglers have come close to breaking this record, including a Kansas fisherman who caught a 4.07-pound, 18-inch white crappie in 2016. However, Fred Bright’s white crappie still holds the title, over six decades later.

History of Crappie World Records

In this section, I will share the history of crappie world records, including the evolution of records and past record holders. The crappie world records have evolved over the years, with records being surpassed by anglers’ determination and skills in catching these amazing fish.

Evolution of Records

The world records for crappie, both black and white, have gradually increased over the years as anglers have used different baits, techniques, and locations to catch them. The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) maintains these records and ensures that each catch meets their rigorous criteria.

Black Crappie:

2.47 kg (5 lb 7 oz), caught by Lionel “Jam” Ferguson at Richeison Pond in Tennessee on May 15, 2018

White Crappie:

2.35 kg (5.2 lb), caught by Fred Brigh in Water Valley, Mississippi on July 31, 1957

The increase in records is mainly due to advances in fishing equipment, fish management practices, and a better understanding of crappie biology, which has allowed anglers to target the fish more efficiently.

Past Record Holders

Before Lionel “Jam” Ferguson set the current black crappie world record, John R. Horstman held the record with a 5-pound (2.26 kg) crappie, caught on April 21, 2005, in a private lake in Missouri. Horstman’s catch also held state and American record for black crappie at the time.

The current record for white crappie, held by Fred Brigh since 1957, is a testament to the skill and dedication of the angler. His 5-pound 3-ounce white crappie remains the International Game Fish Association’s (IGFA) all-tackle world record for over half a century. Brigh caught this phenomenal fish in the Yocona River below Enad Dam using an Action Rod and a Denison-Johnson reel.

As more anglers target crappie, it’s likely that these records will continue to evolve. However, the bar has been set high, and surpassing these remarkable catches will be a true testament to any angler’s skill and determination.

Fishing Techniques for Crappie


When I go fishing for crappie, I like to use a light or ultralight rod and reel combo with a sensitive tip. This helps me detect subtle bites better. Line choice usually depends on water clarity, but for crappie, I prefer 4 to 8-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon lines because of their low visibility and flexibility.

Read the following pages to get my take on the best fishing gear for Crappie:

Baits and Lures

Crappie can be caught using a variety of baits and lures. Live minnows are my go-to choice because they are a favorite food source for crappie. For artificial lures, I often choose small jigs, which can be as small as 1/16-ounce. Soft plastic bodies, such as curly tail grubs and small shad imitations, are effective when matched with the appropriate jig head size. Crappie are attracted to different colors, so it’s a good idea to have an assortment in your tackle box. Here are a few popular colors:

  • White
  • Chartreuse
  • Pink
  • Orange

Timing and Location

Crappie are known to be most active during dawn and dusk, as they tend to move shallow to feed. During these times, I focus on shallow water structures like brush piles, fallen trees, and submerged vegetation. As the sun gets brighter, crappie often retreat to deeper water and cover. That’s when I target them by fishing vertically near channel drops and deeper brush piles.

Seasonal patterns also play an important role in crappie fishing. During the spring spawn, crappie can be found in shallow water near spawning beds. In summer and winter, I look for them near deeper structure and cover, while in fall, they tend to move back to the shallows to chase baitfish.

Preserving and Submitting a Record Crappie

After catching a potential world record crappie, it’s important to take the necessary steps to preserve and submit the fish for official recognition. In my experience, following these guidelines will increase the chances of having the record certified.

First, I’d recommend taking clear photographs of the crappie from several angles, including photos with a recognizable scale or ruler to show its length and girth. This visual documentation can be crucial in verifying the authenticity of the record.

Next, I would carefully place the fish in a cooler with ice or a live well to keep it in the best possible condition. It’s important not to damage or alter the fish in any way, as this could jeopardize the chances of obtaining a certified record.

As soon as possible, I’d take the fish to a certified weigh station, such as a local tackle shop or fish market, to have its weight officially documented. Ideally, the weighing should be done using a certified scale and should be witnessed by a neutral third party.

Once I have the necessary documentation, I would submit the following information to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) or another reputable record-keeping organization:

  • My personal contact information
  • Official weight documentation
  • Clear photographs of the fish
  • Details of the catch, including the date, location, and method used
  • Information about the tackle and equipment used
  • Any witness statements, if available

By following these steps and submitting the required information in a timely manner, I would maximize my chances of having my record crappie recognized and certified by the appropriate organization.

Famous Crappie Anglers and Their Stories

Let me share with you some famous crappie anglers and their remarkable stories, which reflect their passion and perseverance when it comes to crappie fishing.

First, Fred Bright stands out as an angler who made history by setting the world record for white crappie. He caught a 5-pound, 3-ounce (2.35 kg) crappie at Enid Dam in Mississippi in 1957. Measuring 21 inches, this catch has held the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) all-tackle world record for white crappie for over half a century.

Next is Lionel “Jam” Ferguson, a dedicated angler who caught the biggest black crappie ever recorded in May 2018. He was fishing in a small private pond in Tennessee when he lured the magnificent catch with a Kalin’s Triple Threat Grub in John Deere color. Jam’s crappie weighed an impressive 5 pounds, which earned him the world record for black crappie.

Another notable angler is Bobby Parkhurst, who broke a 59-year-old Kansas state record by catching a massive 4.07-pound, 18-inch white crappie. As an angler from Topeka, Bobby has been consistently dedicated to his craft, and this exceptional catch serves as a testament to his passion.

Famous crappie records like those set by Fred Bright, Lionel “Jam” Ferguson, and Bobby Parkhurst inspire anglers around the world to continue pursuing not only bigger catches but also the joy and adventure that crappie fishing offers. Their stories are a testament to the sense of accomplishment and connection with nature that comes from the sport.

For more info on Crappie, check out the following pages:

Captain Tyler Brady

Captain Tyler Brady

Hi, I'm Captain Tyler Brady, founder of A Fellow Fisherman. Thank you for reading this post and visiting my site. I strive to provide the best information when it comes to fishing, whether it is myself or A Fellow Fisherman that is part of my team. Now stop reading and GO fishing!

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