State record gar caught at Sardis

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Special to the Chickasaw Journal

JACKSON – On Saturday, Sept. 10, Mississippi angler Don Henson of Southaven went fishing at the Sardis Lake spillway and set a new state record.

Hoping to catch a monster catfish, Henson drifted a shad through the current. After fishing about 10 minutes, he noticed his float had disappeared and he was fast into a large fish.

“I just knew I had the biggest catfish at the end of my line,” said Henson. “We fought and fought and after about 15 minutes I had the fish at the edge!”

Rather than a giant catfish, Henson found himself hooked to a huge longnose gar. A passerby suggested that the big fish was possibly a state record and advised Henson to contact the MDWFP Fisheries Bureau.

Henson’s fish was big, 48-pounds, 1-ounce big and easily bested the standing state record of 40-pounds. The state record was formally announced Jan. 23, 2017.

A quick scan through the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum list of official world and USA state fresh water angling records showed that Henson’s fish also shattered the standing longnose gar “unlimited line class” record by a whopping 34-pounds!

Henson recently received his World Record Fish certificate from the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.

For more information regarding fishing in Mississippi, visit www.mdwfp.com or call (601) 432-2200.

New year waterfowl numbers are great

JACKSON -The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) completed its early January aerial waterfowl survey in mid January as part of the nationwide Mid-Winter Waterfowl Survey.

Estimates for both mallards and total ducks were the highest observed since MDWFP began using its current survey methods in 2005. The survey estimate of the Mississippi Delta is 1,442,406 total ducks, including 678,235 mallards.

The early January aerial waterfowl survey report with waterfowl estimates and distribution maps can be found online at www.mdwfp.com/wildlife-hunting/waterfowl-program/aerial-survey-reports.

The extreme cold weather which swept across the country in mid January likely had a significant impact on the number of birds arriving in Mississippi.

“The widespread snowfall and icy conditions that reached into the South over the last several consecutive days forced large numbers of waterfowl to migrate in search of milder weather and available wetland habitat,” said Houston Havens, MDWFP Waterfowl Program Coordinator.

Mississippi usually receives peak waterfowl numbers during the month of January, when the waterfowl hunting season is in full swing. The regular waterfowl season closed Jan. 29. Goose hunting seasons will have a final season segment Feb. 4 – 15.

For more information regarding waterfowl in Mississippi, visit our website at www.mdwfp.com/waterfowlor call us at (601) 432-2199.

February is Predator Management Month

JACKSON – February has been named Predator Management Month by the state and hunters and landowners are urged to get with the program.

Amidst growing concern for populations of wild turkeys and other wildlife species, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) seeks to begin a new initiative aimed at encouraging hunters and landowners to undertake management practices to boost numbers of sought-after game species.

“Late winter is a great time to implement many different wildlife management practices,” said Adam Butler, the MDWFP Wild Turkey Program coordinator.  “It’s the down time between deer and turkey seasons, so disturbance is not as big of an issue, and there are many things that can be done.”

Through this initiative, the MDWFP hopes to arm the state’s sportsmen and women with the knowledge necessary to continue world-class hunting in the Magnolia State through effective habitat and predation management.

“The MDWFP has an 80-plus year history of conservation success.  We have learned a lot during that time, but we have often not done the best job at sharing what we know with the public.  We hope to begin to change that beginning in February,” said Butler.  “Our vision is to create a united effort between hunters, landowners, the MDWFP, and its partner organizations on the importance of active wildlife management.  It’s the only way we’ll produce abundant numbers of the wildlife species we all treasure.”

For more information regarding habitat or predator management, or to view daily management topics during the month of February, visit us at www.mdwfp.com or call us at (601) 432-2199.

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