MANILA, Arkansas — A woman who thought she may have broken the state record with a goldeye fish catch a few years ago caught another big one on April 2, which was confirmed by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) as the new state-record goldeye catch.
Jamie Wilhoite caught a fish a few years back that she didn't recognize. She took a picture of the fish and later found out it was a goldeye. From her memory of the weight of the fish she had caught, she wondered if it might have exceeded the state record.
When she caught the second one on April 2 in the State Line Outlet Ditch south of the Simmons Field structure, just above Mallard Lake, she not only knew what it was, she was also confident it was an easy state record-breaking catch.
Jamie Wilhoite described the feeling of catching a state record fish as “awesome,” adding, “I got so tickled, I was so excited.”
A goldeye is a freshwater fish usually found in Canada and the northern U.S. and is one of only two remaining species in the family 'Hiodontidae.' The scientific species name 'alosoides' means “shad-like.”
The AGFC says it’s distinguished by its silver compressed body form and large gold eyes. Some other names for the goldeye are yellow herring, tooth herring or shad mooneye.
"It was way bigger than the one I caught years back," she said.
A personal fish scale indicated it was more than the listed state goldeye record of 1 pound, 10 ounces, so they contacted an area AGFC wildlife officer and went to Jonesboro where Brett Timmons, AGFC fisheries supervisor for that district, confirmed a record weight of 2 pounds, 3.6 ounces.
The AGFC says Jaimie and her husband Homer were fishing at a place known as the “drum hole,” where drum are prevalent along with catfish the day she caught her record-breaking goldeye. They were fishing using a nightcrawler with a bottom presentation, so catching a goldeye surprised her.
“We were fishing for anything that would bite,” she said. “Drum is mainly what we’d catch there, but that day we got lucky.”
Jamie says fishing is “pretty good here” right now.
"Last Saturday and Sunday (April 10-11) we went fishing at Mallard Lake and got 15 crappie Saturday and 14 on Sunday. There are a lot of people fishing for crappie and bass out of Big Lake. We mainly catfish and crappie fish in the spring.”
She says goldeye are a rare sight in the outlet ditch, being as she’s only caught two over several years.
But the AGFC says she has one up on her husband now.
“We compete against each other on who catches the most fish,” she said. “I told him afterward, you may catch the most fish or the most species of fish, but you’re not going to beat my record.”
Jamie Wilhoite with her record-breaking goldeye catch: