Brother tandem smashes state paddlefish mark ROGERS Mike Curran and his brother Mark were searching for striped bass on Beaver Lake March 22 without any luck. Worse yet, this was Day 5 and theyd caught nothing. On that fifth day of striper fishing, we were in Coose Hollow Cove, Mike Curran said. We were about 200 yards off my dock, trolling at about 14 feet. I use Shad Raps for stripers. Across the point, the water was about 28 feet deep. As we crossed it, it felt like we were hung up in a tree. Then the line started moving. About 45 minutes later, the brothers tugged a state-record, 102-pound, 8-ounce paddlefish into the boat. The record had a girth of 40.5 inches and a length (from eye to fork of tail) of 48 inches. The fish broke the 98-pound, 8-ounce record caught July 19, 1994 in the Ouachita River by Michael Langley of Malvern. Curran set the hook hard, hoping he had a large striper. He had snagged the paddlefish, a species that feeds on plankton, not baitfish. The catch is a rod-and-reel record because Curran did not intend to snag the fish. Snagging paddlefish is illegal in Arkansas except during special seasons and in certain water. When she surfaced, she was probably still 40 yards from the boat, Curran said. She wouldnt even begin to fit in the striper net. Mark couldnt hoist her. Were not kids Im 54 and hes 50. It took both of us. We were fishing with 7-foot rods and 17-pound line. Several times we got down to the final wrap on the reel and we had to back up the boat. We just wore her out. Curran works for United Parcel Service in Wichita, Kan., during the week but spends plenty of time on Beaver Lake. Ive had property there 13 years and I fish it religiously, he said. I didnt even know (paddlefish) were in there. It was a total shock to me. It was the first one I ever caught. Another Curran brother, Patrick, and Mikes son, Chad, were in a nearby boat. I didnt even think about a state record, Curran said. We got back to the dock and Chad went to get a camera. He told my wife, Deborah, about the fish and she looked up the record. She called and found out what to do. Ron Moore and Stephen Brown, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission fisheries biologists, answered the call and met the Currans at Andersons Propane and Gas near Avoca to verify the species, measure and weigh the fish on certified scales. Curran said he considered mounting the fish until he found out that would cost about $10 a pound. My plan is to find somebody who does Fiberglas reproductions, he said. The AGFC's fisheries division stocked Beaver Lake with fingerling paddlefish years ago to reintroduce this unique species into the upper White River basin, where they were found naturally before the dam was built. The dam kept the fish from migrating upstream to spawn. Several of these hatchery paddlefish have been caught over time in the lake since the initial stocking.