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Bill Babler

Missouri State Record Brown Trout!

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Wow I saw the story last night and this morning on KY3...I hadnt heard about it till then...I was like hey that guy is on the fishing forum that I belong to lol! Amazing catch and yes you are the one that deserves this record I hope it stands for years unless I get back down to taney and out do ya with a big fat nightcrawler! LOL! Ive often said that I think the next state record largemouth bass would come out of Taneycomo....but dont tell anyone!

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9 hours ago, Phil Lilley said:

Here's a little rebuttal I've posted on FB about the haters who say we KILLED the fish.  Yes we did... but still have to push back a bit.

The best way not to kill a big fish is to.... not go fishing #1. If you go fishing, cut your hook off and go for just strikes #2. Go fishing and if you hook a big fish, don't take it out of the water, just cut the line when it gets close #3. Go fishing and... I'm out of safe ways to keep fish alive, sorry.
All fun aside, bringing this fish to the dock and getting a certified weigh DID kill this fish. The last state record we handled in February - we got lucky and it survived all our handling. This fish was bigger (4th largest brown trout ever caught), much worse DO levels in the lake (45 minute fight in February and less than a 5 minute fight today) and again - the transporting to a certified scale, on land, weighed by 2 state fisheries biologists. They said we did everything right except we should have had O2 on hand and a good aerator device - that's something we'll work on for the next big brown. That and I want to build a concrete platform for the scales closer to our fish tank.
After the last record in February, we bought a professional set of scales and got them state certified so that we could weigh fish here at the resort instead of transporting them 6 miles to the hatchery. We thought we were ahead of the game... never thought we'd use them so soon after Frank the Tank (Feb. record).
We will and do own some of the criticism we're getting for handling the fish. We could have done better. Bill could have just released it and we wouldn't be talking now. But the fish was very close to it's end of life cycle, and while we would have loved to watch it swim away, the fact is we'd still be catching grief because then you'd say - it swam off and died! So we'll never win the social media battle.
Now I'll copy and paste this around so all those haters can read our rebuttal... and we'll call it good for now.

All these haters need to take up a new hobby where everything works just right in a just right world. Most probably never fish more than one of two times a year but read forums constantly. They never congratulate some one on an impressive catch, they only tell you what you did wrong. Phil pretty much covered that in his rebuttal. Hats off to you Phil. 

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I don't do Social Media, so I guess I am a bit protected from the remarks and really if they are negative i thought there would be some, with me perhaps leading the way.  I always tell my guide clients this is not 5 years or 10 years ago, harming fish has almost turned into a crime, and we take our greatest care to not do so, when not harvesting them for food.  We are always as green and as pro-active as possible and no one takes more responsibility for the death of the fish than I do.  I am deeply sorry it expired.  The fish in the photo secession had already expired so that was not a contributing factor.

I believe there were other factors also that contributed and just being caught at that stage of life and weight was perhaps the biggest reason for its death.

Let's go back to first the catching phase.  I have probably had close to 100 people say man that must have been the battle of a lifetime, how long did it take you to land that Monster?  When I tell them 3 or 4 minutes they say no way.  Yes, after speaking with Mark he said 4 minutes maximum.

At the take the fish came to the surface and just swirled.  He was caught in the hinge of the jaw, just on the inside of the mouth.  The Mustad size 12 had him solid, it was  not coming out.  Only way that fish could get away was sawing the 3.1 pound test Orvis tippet with its teeth or wrapping me around an obstruction and the line coming out of the mouth was in the soft portion of the hinge so it was caught.

The fish swam to the middle of the lake just below Fall Creek dock in front of the boat.  He never ran or swam fast, just a heavy weight.  He looped twice in front of the boat, clearly visible swimming just under the surface in water that was approx. 7' deep, and really just swimming.  At that point I raised my back motor to prevent the fish from cutting me off on the prop.  "Been there and done that."  At that point he swam back and went under the boat and around the stern.  If I had not raised the motor he would have cut me off on the prop.  He came out the first time about mid-ship and was right on the top with his head out.  Not on his side, but just slowly swimming.  We were not quite ready with the net this quick.  He again swam to the stearn and under the boat and came out in the same location and we were ready.  He never ran or surged, just slow swam 2 circles in front of the boat and 2 circles under the rear of the boat and came right to the net.  He never flopped or flipped once netted and within 20 seconds in the live well with full O2 blowing.  Within 5 minutes he was swimming in Lilley's tank under full air and seemed to be doing fine as I turned him over to  the capable hands of the dock crew, which I give my total thanks.  They have handled huge fish now for years and are the best.

The fish expired and I am deeply saddened that I caught him.  Even if I had released the fish immediately I don't know that the outcome would have been different.  I knew the fish was a potential World Record and perhaps that swayed me into wanting to verify the size.  Looking back and I told this to Phil immediately after catching him that I wished I had not caught it.

Fishing is and has been my life's job,  I love and respect the fish and the fishermen.  I'm very sad that one of the crowning achievements of my career will now go down in this manner.  I will however stay steadfast and continue to pursue the career I love and continue to respect the outdoors the creator has bestowed upon us and try my best to be a good shepherd of his creations.

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Congratulations Bill.  I can't think of a more deserving guy to catch a record fish.  Not only your knowledge but your many, many hours on the water, along with being so generous and sharing all the fishing information you gather with others makes you so deserving.  Don't let some jealous wannabes detract from your achievement.  You all did everything you could to keep that fish alive and it wasn't to be.  Hope to hear the story in person the next time we stay at the Lodge.  Congrats!!!!!

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