State Record Brown
41.25" Length | 28" Girth
Missouri State Record Brown Trout
State Record Brown Nearly Misses World Record
State Record Brown Trout Caught Near Fall Creek Nearly Misses World Record
Now twice in one year, the Missouri state record for brown trout has been set. This time it was local fishing guide Bill Babler who landed the fish and the title.
On the morning of September 4th, Babler was out fishing Taneycomo with his best friend from grade school. After guiding his friend through a successful drift, the pair headed back up to the end of the restricted zone to start again. This time Babler would get a chance to drop a line, and he decided to drift a pink Berkley power trout worm on a 1/125th-ounce jig head under a float. As a cloud blocked the sun overhead, Babler’s float vanished. The fish immediately came to the surface and swirled. That’s when Babler knew that he had hooked a monster! The fish then dove and headed toward midstream.
In all the excitement, it wasn’t long before Babler’s friend had reeled in his line and grabbed the net.
As an experienced angler, Babler trimmed up his motor to avoid having his line broken on it. He turned his trolling motor toward the middle of the lake and let the fish pull drag with his rod tip high to absorb the pressure. “The drag was set perfect; I never had to touch it. It just peeled off like string after a kite,” said Babler.
“The fish made two circles in front of the boat and then headed to the back. It went under the boat and then came out with its head up. We were not quite ready and back he went under the boat. He did the same thing again and we were ready.” As the pair hoisted the monster fish into the boat, the net broke. They immediately put as much of the fish into the live well as would fit, and it was off to the races to Lilleys’ Landing Marina where a holding tank and certified scale would be waiting.
Two Missouri Department of Conservation biologists from the Shepherd of the Hills fish hatchery were called in to observe and take part in getting the official measurements. When all was said and done, Bill Babler was the new king of Taneycomo with a new state record 40-pound, 6-ounce brown trout, narrowly missing the world record 42-pound, 1-ounce fish from New Zealand.
Though Babler is as good a fisherman as any, he retains his humble attitude. “Just feeling so blessed — and again, right place, right time.”