Tennessee fisherman reels in record-breaking yellow perch on Kentucky lake

The new record-holder was just about to head back to shore when a massive yellow perch hit his line.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Editor’s note: the above video first aired in July 2023.

A Tennessee fisherman recently left Kentucky with a new state record.

Lynn Bumgardner, of Oliver Springs, Tenn., went fishing last Saturday with a friend on Lake Barkley in western Kentucky. Bumgardner knew he had a large fish on the hook, but little did he know it was the largest of its kind ever recorded in Kentucky.

“We were trolling grubs for crappie in Linton Bay on Lake Barkley,” Bumgardner said. “When I caught that one, I knew immediately it was a heavy fish.”

Bumgardner reeled in a 14 1/4-inch yellow perch. The average size for a yellow perch is 7-10 inches long.

Bumgardner, a television actor, was fishing with friend Lee Andrews.

“The fish rolled over and I saw the great big belly and I saw the stripes and I knew it was a perch,” Bumgardner said. “I said ‘Lee, I’ve caught the new state record yellow perch.’ I didn’t know if it really was, but it was the largest perch I’d ever seen.”

The two were about to head back to shore right before the giant fish hit the line.

The fish weighed just over 1 pound, 9 ounces on a handheld digital scale in the boat. However a reading on a certified scale is required for official state record status.

The two men took the perch to the Food Giant grocery store in Cadiz to have it weighed. The official reading was 1.58 pounds, topping the previous record of 1.44 pounds set in 2010.

Bumgardner and Andrews have been fishing together since they were kids.

“We caught one more crappie after catching the record perch, but who cares” Bumgardner said. “I realized this is a rare opportunity.”

Bumgardner caught the record-breaking fish on the Trigg County side of the lake.

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