The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission just certified a new state-record common carp. The nearly 40-pound fish was caught in April by fisherman Chuck Hensel.
Hensel, who lives in Valentine, caught the carp from the Merritt Reservoir on April 18. Hensel was fishing alone from the bank, using wax worms when he hooked it. After a tough battle, Hensel knew he had a potential state record on his hands, so he took the fish home and froze it, according to NGPC fisheries outreach program manager Daryl Bauer.
“The next day he drove the frozen fish to our Nebraska state fish hatchery in Valentine, about 25 miles from the lake,” Bauer tells Outdoor Life. “There, Zach Brashers, a facility fisheries manager, identified it as a common carp, weighed, and measured it.”
Hensel’s common carp measured over 40 inches long and weighed 39 pounds, 8 ounces. This replaces the previous Nebraska record for common carp, which was caught in May 2019 and weighed 34 pounds, 13 ounces. Angler Robert Busk caught that fish from a private pond in Washington County, and he was using a nightcrawler as bait, according to the NGPC fishing records book.
“[Hensel told me] it was quite a struggle landing the fish,” Bauer said. “He asked a couple guys in a boat nearby to come to shore and help out and shoot a photo.”
Bauer added that he’s unsure if Hensel was specifically targeting carp that afternoon. After Hensel’s record carp was certified, he offered the fish to the state so it could be mounted and displayed somewhere. Due to the high cost of a replica mount, however, the agency was unable to take Hensel up on his offer.