Roane County angler catches the inaugural black crappie record

Craig Webb with the new state record black crappie caught from Woodrum Lake

GANDEEVILLE, W.Va. — A Roane County angler has caught the state’s first record black crappie. Craig Webb of Gandeeville, West Virginia hooked the big fish while fishing at Woodrum Lake in Jackson County on the evening of June 9th.

“I came upon the first tree top in about 8 feet of water and it went off into 15 feet. On my fish finder I could see the treetop pretty clear and the little dots which were crappie. I dropped down my jigs and was catching them. About the fifth fish I caught it was a normal thump and I set the hook,” explained Webb in an interview for West Virginia Outdoors.

It became very apparent to Craig this was NOT like the other crappie he had already boated. In fact, he wasn’t even sure it was a crappie.

“It started pulling a lot of extra drag, the pole bent and the reel started screaming. I thought maybe it was a channel cat or a largemouth bass, but finally he came up and turned sideways and I could see it was a big crappie,” he laughed.

Webb lamented his net was still stowed under his backpack in the bottom of the boat and hadn’t been unfolded. He tried to calm his nerves as he attempted to multi-task and unfolded the net all while keeping the line tight and the fish hooked up. Finally, he had it to the boat and secured it.

It turned out the fish had a tag. It was also a black crappie, which was significant. Last year, the Natural Resources Commission approved several new state records to be recognized. For years, the record was just for crappie and didn’t make a distinction between white and black. The new rules however split them into two separate record categories. The DNR was able to verify the standing record for crappie was in fact for a white crappie, which meant there was no record for a black crappie.

“For a long time there was just the one category and it was that old record from 1971. I knew she wasn’t that big,” he said. “But I took a few pictures, measured it, and put it in the livewell. I got to reading the regulations and saw that new category so I decided to keep the fish.”

Listen to “Craig Webb — Record Black Crappie” on Spreaker.

He caught the fish on a jig by Bobby Garland called a “Baby Shad.”

“It’s a lot different than when the spawn was on. I just fish them real slow. I actually caught him while I was dead sticking,” Craig explained.

The next day he took the fish to the DNR’s District Six headquarters for an official measurement. The fish was certified at 2.85 pounds and 17.32 inches, both are now the established record for a black crappie in West Virginia. It’s unclear how long those will stand, but for the time being, Craig holds both of the records.

Caught June 9th the fish weighed 2.85 pounds and was 17.32 inches

“That’s a good place to be,” he laughed.

Turns out the fish had been tagged in May of 2023 and was about an inch shorter at that time. The age of the fish is unknown, since it requires removal of a bone in the head. Craig didn’t want to do that so it could be kept intact for the taxidermist.



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