Tuesday, August 02, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot native establishes fishing record


Ross Martin, of Cabot, may have established a state record for river carp sucker, but he doesn’t expect it to stand long. He’s pretty sure he has caught bigger examples of the species before he pulled in a river carp sucker out of the Maumelle Pool of the Arkansas River late on July 11 with his bowfishing rig.

“Nobody knew if there was a state record,” said Martin, who was fishing with his ex-brother-in-law, Steven Ruple. “We didn’t know what they were at first. We caught some that were bigger than that, some other times we went. I figured out too late what they were, and that there wasn’t a record established, so I went back and got another one.”

This river carp sucker measured 2 pounds, 7.4 ounces at the Little Rock Fisheries Headquarters. The total length from tip to tail was 18 inches; fork length, which is from the tip of the nose to the “V” in the tail, was 16¾ inches. The fish’s girth, measured in front of the dorsal fin, was 11½ inches.

Martin, who works in an oil field, says he bowfishes about two nights per week. He and Ruple look mainly for other rough fish like buffalo or gar, which is what led to finding the river carp sucker. He said carp suckers are “almost impossible” to take by other means.

Specifically, the carp suckers were found in Murray Lake, upriver from the Murray Lock and Dam. “At night, they come up in the shallow water,” he said. “I haven’t seen a whole bunch of them.”

Martin, who is 35, says he’s hunted game and fish with bows since he was 14. He plans to return regularly to beat his established mark, but figures his friend, Ruple, will be trying to best the record, too. They may be exchanging existing records for a while, Martin said with a chuckle. In the meantime, they’ll still focus on the fish they prefer to eat: the buffalo, the gar, and the catfish in season.

“Buffalo are good, and gar actually are good if you cook it right,” Martin said.