Fishing Record Fish

‘Super-Size’ Hybrid Striper Caught on a Crankbait Breaks Ohio Record

The hybrid bass officially weighed 18.82 pounds, which beat out the standing record by only five ounces
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An angler holds up a hybrid striped bass.
Keith Snider kept the hybrid striper on a stringer and didn't get it officially weighed until two days later. Photo courtesy Keith Snider

Southeast Ohio’s Muskingum River flows deep and mostly clear near its confluence with the Ohio River. Keith Snider, 48, has fished this stretch of the Muskingum most of his life, and around midday on Apr. 22, the local farmer headed to the river to fish below a small dam near the town of Lowell.

“I live on the shore of the Ohio River, and regularly fish the Muskingum because I’m building a cabin there just 12 miles from my home,” Snider tells Outdoor Life. “I was taking a break from building our cabin and went to the river with my wife Nancy and friend Brian Mofett.”

Before casting a line, Snider climbed a concrete wall near the dam so he could survey the scene.

“I could see a back eddy with shad [baitfish] holding there,” he says. “I watched something blowing up and eating the shad, so I cast a fire-tiger colored Rat-L-Trap.”

Snider got a hit on his second cast as he worked the lipless crankbait through the eddy, but he lost the fish right away. On his fourth cast, he watched a huge bass surge at the lure and turn on it.

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“I’ve caught lots of big hybrid stripers up to 12 pounds,” Snider says, “but the fish I saw and hooked I knew was much larger than anything I’d caught before.”

The hybrid bass (a cross between a white bass and a striped bass) raced out to open water, taking 100 yards of line off the reel. The bass was swimming fast toward a nearby river island. Luckily Snider was using a heavy rod and reel, which allowed him to bear down on the fish.

An Ohio angler with a big hybrid striped bass.
The chunky hybrid bass was busting shad near the surface when Snider hooked it on a crankbait.

Photo courtesy Keith Snider

“I put my thumb on the reel spool to stop it. I was either going to stop its run, break the line or pull out the hooks,” he says. “Fortunately, just 15 feet before getting around the island, the fish stopped and I fought it back toward shore. Then it took off on a second run, about as far and fast as the first run.”

Finally, after 20 minutes or so, the fish tired enough for Snider to work it back toward shore. But as he stood on the concrete wall and fought the fish, he started to wonder how he’d ever be able to land it. The big eddy below the dam was covered with floating debris and downed trees.

That’s when his pal Moffet showed up.

“He told me to bring it in, and he’d use a rake to pull away the snags so we could land it,” Snider says. “Coming down from the wall while holding the rod and working it around snags was tough. But Brian finally grabbed the hybrid with two hands and snatched it out of the water. He yelled out, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s a super-size fish’.”

Snider says he thought about letting the fish go after he snapped a few pictures. But his companions asked him to keep it instead.

“They said not to [release it] because they hadn’t ever seen a hybrid that size.”

Snider weighed the fish on two hand scales, with one of them registering just under 22 pounds. He then reluctantly slipped the fish onto a stringer and dropped it back in the water before making another cast with his Rat-L-Trap. He says he got another vicious strike in the same eddy, but the hooks pulled before he could see what it was.

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When it came time to leave, Snider loaded the hybrid bass into a garbage bag, then drove to his cabin in his truck. The fish was still on the stringer when he got there, and he left it in his pond overnight. By the next morning, the bass was still alive but only barely.

“There were a couple of big gizzard shad floating on the surface near the hybrid that it must have disgorged,” Snider says, “because I don’t have gizzard shad in my pond.”

He then put the whole fish in a deep freezer. And the hybrid bass likely would have stayed there it not for his friend Moffet, who stopped by and told him the bass could be a new state record.

An angler weighing a fish.
The hybrid striper officially weighed 18.82 pounds on a UPS scale.

Photo courtesy Keith Snider

Two days after catching the fish, Snider called the Ohio DNR office, then brought the hybrid striper to a UPS to use their certified scales. He photographed the whole process and got an official weight of 18.82 pounds, which beat out the standing Ohio record by just 5 ounces. The fish measured 32 inches long with a 25-inch girth, and DNR biologists confirmed that it was a hybrid striper around 7 years old.

Snider says he’s convinced the fish weighed more when he caught it. He expects that it lost some weight when it puked up the shad and thinks it might’ve lost a few more ounces while sitting in the freezer. Either way, he’ll be getting more than one replica mount made of his state-record fish.

“I will have one for my home and one for my cabin. Nancy was insistent on that,” Snider says. “She’s the one who wants me to be outdoors, fishing and relaxing from work. She’s the reason I was there that day and hooked that hybrid.”