CABINS, W.Va. — Zach Adkins of Cabins, West Virginia is passionate about fishing. Chances are every free day he has, regardless of the season, you’ll find him wetting a line somewhere. Therefore for those who know him, catching a state record fish is not all that surprising, unless you consider the record fish was a grass carp.
“I’ve chased a few difference species and chased a record I thought was breakable, but grass carp was definitely not one of those,” he laughed.
But, sometimes when you least expect it fate will intervene.
It happened January 3rd when Zach shoved off the banks of Warden Lake in Hardy County. It was a foggy morning and like he explained, he wasn’t there fishing for carp.
“There’s supposed to be some northern pike left in that lake and that was my target species for the day,” he explained.
There was a lot of surface activity and in the low light of the early morning and the heavy fog Zach, perched on his kayak, was unsure of what was happening.
“It’s hard to see in a kayak when it’s foggy like that, so I just threw a cast that way,” he said.
A couple of quick jerks later and there was something heavy on the other end, but as he reeled it took a while to realize what it was. After seeing it was a grass carp, it took a little longer to consider he might have a state record.
“After looking at it for a few minutes, my brain clicked and I figured I should put the tape on it and when I did I thought, ‘Whoa it’s going to be over what that previous record was,” he said.
To confirm his suspicions, relying on good cell service, Zach quickly looked up the record on his phone and confirmed he had a winner. But he wasn’t certain it would qualify, because he hadn’t gotten the fish to bite, instead he had snagged it.
“It was an accidental snag fish, but if you look in the regulations you’re allowed to snag carp 24/7 365 days a year in West Virginia. It was a legal catch, but I wasn’t sure it would be counted as a record. That was one of the big questions I had for the DNR when I called them,” he said.
Zach didn’t have high hopes. He assumed because he had snagged the fish it wouldn’t count, but since snagging of the species is legal, the record stood. The official length was 53.1 inches, besting the old record of 50.75 inches. The fish officially weighed 59 pounds, which is well short of the standing record for weight of 71.69 pounds. That carp was also caught at Warden Lake by William Tucker in 2005.
What may be the untold story of Zach’s fish was getting it to the bank. As he made his way to shore, his rig looked like something from Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea.
“I keep some rope in the kayak to tie off to trees, so I tied him to the side of the kayak. Now my Yellowfin kayak made by Vibe tracks really super well, but not with a 60 pound carp tied to the side. It was quite a workout getting back to the dock. That’s quite a bit of drag on a kayak and it didn’t track real well,” he laughed.