|Photo courtesy of Zach Adkins|
Sometimes when you go fishing you truly are not sure what the day will bring and what you will be blessed with catching. That is true for WVAngler.com member Zach Adkins. McFishin as most board members know him by his screen name. Fishing challenges is becoming more popular across the United States. Different states have native fish challenges that reward an angler for catching certain species of fish in there home waters. Adkins is one of those people who always enjoy the challenge of the catch, the only WV sport-fish that Zach has yet to catch is the Chain Pickerel. He says he has had several close encounters but can never seal the deal. As far as records Adkins says, "I've tried a couple of times to target a record. In the late 90's there were hybrid versions of several species stocked all over the state. By the mid-late 2000's the states Saugeye population was nearing the end of its lifespan, all those fish were getting old...and big. Same with the hybrid stripers and tiger musky. I tried various locations across the state for all 3 species and actually came somewhat close on the Hybrid and Saugeye for length but not close enough. I did lay eyes on a true Tiger musky that would've rivaled the record but it was a single lazy lure follow that never committed and disappeared." Adkins started the day throwing a swim bait targeting the large bass that live there or the few northern pike that are supposed to be in there. It was a foggy day on the water but Zach noticed some surface activity. With the fog and cloud covering hampering his view he was led to assume it was a big fish chasing bait. Casting to the area out of his Vibe kayak and before you know it he was hooked up with the swim bait. Adkins says, "It was an unintentional snag and it honestly didn't fight as you'd think it would. The fish as old and definitely on its way out. " None the less a fish of that size 53" and 59 lbs getting a fish of that proportions to the bank is a challenge in itself. Speaking of the record Zach says. "I knew when I first say this fish it might be close but did't think it would actually beat it. It's pretty cool getting to have my name in there. It's always been a goal, ever since I was a little kid. The circumstances and species of this one are definitely not the way I thought it would happen but take what's given I suppose. A state record has been my longest running fishing goal but honestly, being able to complete my life list (every sport fish in WV) from public waters will mean more to me. For 28 years I've honed and worked at being able to catch all kids of different species, on all kids of different water, on all kinds of different gear, and the more I switched form one species to the next the more I learned how they actually all aren't that different...food, cover, reproduction." Due to the grass carp being a non game fish unintentional snagging is allowed for records in the record book. As for now Adkins will continue to try and land that Chain Pickerel and he will be chasing the Fallfish record. As he says, "There are way too many 18-20" Falllfish in the Potomac drainage for their not to be one greater than the 21.25" record. I catch most of my fallfish while targeting smallmouth though, but have learned the water Fallfish prefer, so when I fish a specific hole I cast in the smallmouth holding areas first, the switch over to the more fallfish friendly areas." We congratulate Zach Adkins on his record and wish him the best on catching that chain pickerel.