Six-pound test line holds up to struggle with 70-lb. spoonbill

Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Colleen and Terry Mattox landed a 70-pound spoonbill paddlefish in their boat that Colleen "snagged" on her six-pound line while casting for white bass on the White River by Houseman Access. Photo courtesy of Steve Matt

BUSCH -- A 70-pound spoonbill paddlefish was unexpectedly caught on six pound test by fisherperson Colleen Mattox, who was casting for white bass in the Houseman Access area of the White River in early May.

According to her husband Terry Mattox, the couple had put in at Houseman and were headed downstream on the White.

He said Colleen was outfitted with a single barb jig on six-pound line hoping to land white bass.

Instead, she snagged the spoonbill. Terry said he had to run with the 70-pounder using the trolling motor. He said it took 45 minutes to land the monster in the boat.

Helping, he said, was fellow fisherman Steve Matt, fishing nearby in another watercraft. He helped net and lift the monster fish into the boat, Terry said, and to snap the accompanying photo.

Terry said spoonbill paddlefish are usually "snagged" with large treble hooks on heavy line, and there is even a "snagging" season for the big fish.

This one, he said, measured 5-foot 9-inches in length, from tip to tail.

Terry said he and Colleen, rural Eureka Springs residents, had been "casual" fishermen for awhile, but picked up the pace after he retired from the probation office.

Remembering that big day, he said, "By chance, Colleen snagged it with her small, shingle-hook jig. She was having a string of good luck. She landed her first walleye that day too!"

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