These anglers reeled in record-breaking catches in 2021

Fishing records were broken across Texas throughout the year

A South Texas fisherman landed a 876-pound bluefin tuna on April 13 about 140 miles off the coast of Port Aransas, breaking a nearly 40-year state record. (Courtesy, Port Aransas Fisherman's Wharf)

Read more stories wrapping 2021 here.

There’s no need to stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to if you’re looking for a record-setting fish.

From the Gulf of Mexico to deep in the heart of Texas, there were a ton of record-breaking catches this year by Texas anglers and we’ve compiled a list of a few of our favorites.

Speaking of the heart of Texas, that’s where you’ll find O.H. Ivie Lake, which yielded eight record bass in just seven days earlier in the year.

According to the Runnels County Register, the fishing fever began on Feb. 19 when Joe McKay of Bussey, Iowa landed a 16.4 largemouth bass.

Officials with Texas Parks and Wildlife posted a photo of McKay to Facebook and congratulated him on the new lake record. (Turns out the monster fish was also the 16th largest largemouth bass ever caught in Texas.)

Another record-breaking largemouth bass was caught by 15-year-old angler Trace Jansen in February. He set a new waterbody record for Lake Travis with a 15.32 pound fish, beating the previous waterbody record that was set in 1993 by more than one pound.

Jansen wasn’t the only junior angler with a big catch this year, Colt Franke reeled in a 33.5-inch, 24.5 lbs. blue catfish at Calaveras Lake in November. The catch beat the previous junior angler record for a blue catfish caught in Calaveras Lake by more than two pounds, which was set by Braedon Brown just one month prior.

Calaveras Lake Youth Blue Catfish Record - caught by Colt Franke in November 2021. (Inland Fisheries San Antonio District - Texas Parks and Wildlife)

This next angler is reeled in a potential world-record blue catfish. Ben Christensen, of Johnson City, caught the 31.55-pound monster fish on Oct. 11 in the Pedernales River and posted a photo of his possible record-breaker on his Instagram pearlsnapflyfishing.

“This catfish is definitely a personal best,” Christensen told KSAT. “The rod tip was bent over almost double during the whole fight.”

Christensen used a 4-weight fly rod to reel in the blue catfish, which he says is typically unsuitable for catching fish over about five pounds.

Angler Ben Christensen caught a 31.55 pound blue catfish on a size 10 Gamakatsu hook, with 12-lb. Rio Bass tippet and a Scott Flex 4-weight fly rod. (Ben Christensen)

And last, but not least, the heaviest rod and reel saltwater record in the state of Texas for 2021 was set by Troy Lancaster who landed a whopper 876-pound bluefin tuna off the coast of Port Aransas, breaking a nearly 40-year state record.

Lancaster caught the 121-inch female tuna on April 13 using skipjack tuna as bait. He said he was trying to catch a marlin but he ended up with a 19-year-old tuna instead.

A South Texas fisherman landed a 876-pound bluefin tuna on April 13 about 140 miles off the coast of Port Aransas, breaking a nearly 40-year state record. (Courtesy, Port Aransas Fisherman's Wharf)

Rod and Reel Freshwater Records:

  • Bass, Largemouth bass x Smallmouth bass - Caught March 1 at O.H. Ivie Lake by Wyatt Frankens. Weighed 7.6 pounds.
  • Bass, Largemouth x Spotted - Caught March 14 at Houston County Lake by David Daniel. Weighed 4.69 pounds.
  • Common Carp - Caught March 28 at Lady Bird Lake by Kevin Olivier. Weighed 44.25 pounds.
  • Longnose Gar - Caught June 22 at Clear Fork Brazos River by Amanda Martin. Weighed 30.3 pounds.
  • River Carpsucker - Caught June 20 at Denton Creek by John Paul Hays. Weighed 5.1 pounds.
  • Tilapia Hybrid - Caught May 25 at Lake Travis by Keller Colton Shaw. Weighed 5.78 pounds.

Rod and Reel Saltwater Records:

  • Atlantic Cutlassfish - Caught Jan. 2 in Upper Laguna Madre by Jeffrey Mills. Weighed 5.13 pounds.
  • Bigeye - Caught Aug. 12 in the Gulf of Mexico by Cody Dunn. Weighed 2.7 pounds.
  • Bluefin Tuna - Caught April 13 in the Gulf of Mexico by Troy Lancaster. Weighed 876 pounds.
  • Buffalo Smallmouth - Caught Feb. 26 in the Sabine River by Robert Vail. Weighed 28.13 pounds.
  • Goldface Tilefish - Caught April 19 in the Gulf of Mexico by David Shane Ranking. Weighed 4.85 pounds.
  • Queen Snapper - Caught Aug. 25 in the Gulf of Mexico by James Christopher Dean. Weighed 19.4 pounds.
  • Scalloped Hammerhead - Caught Oct. 4 in the Gulf of Mexico by Derrick Bonner. Weighed 300.5 pounds.
  • Vermilion Snapper - Caught Oct. 15 in the Gulf of Mexico by Troy Stephens. Weighed 5.81 pounds.
  • Yellowedge Grouper - Caught Aug. 1 in the Gulf of Mexico by Hal Kennedy. Weighed 37.9 pounds.
  • Yellowfin Grouper - Caught Oct. 1 in the Gulf of Mexico by Dylan Becherer. Weighed 47 pounds.

For a complete list of the current state and water body records visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.