Catching the World Record Crappie: Everything You Wanted to Know!

September 07, 2018 3 min read

Catching the World Record Crappie: Everything You Wanted to Know!

Lionel Jam Ferguson - World Record Crappie Holder

Have you ever wondered what it's like to catch a world record? After confirming the new world record black crappie was caught on a signature Kalin's product, we took the opportunity to chat with the new record holder and hear his story. Not only was he willing to share his experiences of that evening, but he also shared the gritty details that every angler wants to know.  From weather conditions to the lure presentation, he described all of the factors that led him to catch the largest recorded crappie ever.   For die-hard fishermen everywhere, this is a must read!



On the evening of May 15th, 2018, Lionel (better known as “Jam”) Ferguson finished his tiring day of work with a relaxing evening of fishing. With his go-to body of water not producing this year, he and his fishing partner decided to try a different location. This ended up being a small, private pond located near Philadelphia, Tennessee.  Little did Jam know that choosing to fish the pond that evening would put him in crappie fishing history. 



The pond Jam decided to fish that night was a spring fed, heavily vegetated body of water. It is small in size, at roughly an acre across and eighteen feet at its greatest depth. Although he has caught fish from this pond before, it wasn’t frequent. However, when he did catch fish at this location, the crappie were usually giants.



Kalins 2" Triple Threat Grub for Crappie

Kalin's 2" Triple Threat Grub

This time around, Jam used a deadly combination consisting of a Kalin's 2” Triple Threat Grub in the color John Deere green (a longtime favorite of his) attached to a 1/8 oz jig. His technique was to cast and slowly retrieve across the small body of water.  

While the evening progressed, a storm rolled in.  As the weather started to change so did Jam's luck. With a slow and steady reel, Jam ended up hooking into the fish of his dreams right against the edge of the pond. 

“It’s bigger than the last one! it’s bigger than the last one!” 

This, he told us, was his reaction as he started to realize the size of the fish he had just hooked into. 



Massive Crappie

You see, Jam isn’t new to catching giants. In fact, he caught a potential state record black crappie a few years ago with the fish weighing in at a little over 4 lbs 4 oz. Unfortunately for Jam, this fish ended up on the dinner plate instead of in the record books. However, after learning from the first go around, this time he knew it he had a record and that he would need to verify it. 

As excitement started to overwhelm him, he jumped into the pond to scoop up the fish as it came into view.

“I think it’s a record!” 

The black crappie would weigh an astonishing 5 lbs 7.68 oz,  making it not only the new Tennessee state record (previously held since 1985) but the world record.



The process of confirming a world record isn’t a quick one.  He first had to weigh it on a certified scale, which he found at the local grocery store.  Then it had to be verified by the Tennessee Wildlife Authorities, where they not only counted the number of spines but sent in a DNA profile to assure the fish wasn't a hybrid.  

After confirming the fish was indeed a state record, it was finally sent to the International Game Fish Association to verify it's status. Since it's confirmation, Jam has been waiting for his official paperwork to return before getting it mounted. 

The photo of a world record crappie

Jam not only set the new world record that day but blew the previous one out of the water. The previous record is 5 lbs even. 

The world record crappie wasn't the only topic we talked to Jam about. We also asked him about his usual day of fishing, his favorite techniques, and go-to products. He told us that when he isn't chasing crappie he is chasing bass. He also said he was excited to add the Kalin's Wac-o-Worm to his bass fishing arsenal.

You, too, can grab Jam's favorite products right here on our site

Lionel Jam Ferguson with a bass