32-Year-Old Burbot Record Broken Twice in Two Weeks

32-Year-Old Burbot Record Broken Twice in Two Weeks

The Indiana State record for burbot has been broken not once, but twice in the past two weeks.

The first time happened on Dec. 30 when avid angler Scott Skafar caught a burbot that weighed 10.2 pounds on Lake Michigan. This catch broke the previous state record that had been in place since 1990 by 2.5 pounds. Later that day Skafar reeled in a second burbot that was also larger than the 1990 state record by nearly two pounds.

Skafar, of Valparaiso, decided to look up the state record because he knew that to catch a burbot that large was uncommon.

"When first catching them I didn’t think much of it," Skafar told Fox News Digital. "I checked the record using my mobile phone to look it up. Seeing it was only 7 pounds, 11 ounces, I knew these were much larger.”

1 burbot record break Skafar with two record-breaking burbot.

With an appearance best described as a cross between a catfish and an eel, the burbot has an elongated body, laterally compressed with a flattened head. The mouth is wide, with both upper and lower jaws containing many small teeth. Also known as eelpout, lawyer, ling, poor man’s lobster, or freshwater cod, they can be identified by a single chin barbel or whisker, similar to catfish whiskers. As the only freshwater fish in the cod family, burbot is a unique species native to Lake Michigan. They live under the ice for portions of the year and require frigid temperatures to breed.

Skafar told Fox News Digital that he believed someone else would break Indiana's burbot fishing record again "very soon," which proved true less than two weeks later.

On Tuesday, Jan. 10, Phillip Duracz broke Skafar’s record, when he reeled in a burbot weighing 11.4 pounds, also from Lake Michigan, the DNR reported.

2nd burbot record break Duracz with his record-breaking fish.

Duracz also holds the lake whitefish record at 9.34 pounds, which he set in 2021.

Burbots are typically bottom dwellers that stay in the lake’s coldest and deepest waters. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (Indiana DNR) said that cold water temperatures from November to April draw the burbot closer to shore to feed. Their diet includes round goby, sculpin, yellow perch, and other fish species.

”The recent warm weather coupled with light winds has provided excellent opportunities for anglers to fish Lake Michigan at a time they are usually unable to safely access the lake,” Ben Dickinson, a fisheries research biologist said.

Images via Indiana DNR Facebook.

Kalon O Blackout Spinning Reel
Save this product
13 Fishing
$79.99
At home both in open water and in the frozen tundra, 13 Fishing Kalon O Spinning Reels are performance-proven and tested by the most rugged and rowdy anglers we know.
Shop Now
MeatEater Branded Yeti Hopper M30
Save this product
YETI
$299.99
Whether you're into suds, brewskis, seltzers, or vino, if it comes in a can or bottle and is best served cold, the Hopper M30 is the ticket.
Shop Now
Mermaid's Trident Zesty Seafood Blend
Save this product
Spiceology
$9.99
A bright citrus-based blend that is balanced with earthy notes of smokey chardonnay and mild heat to round it out. This unique combination is incredibly versatile, perfectly pairs with your latest catch, fresh garden veggies, or atop roasted potatoes.
Shop Now
Inception Baitcast Reel
Save this product
13 Fishing
$120.00
A lightweight body and super low-profile design provide incredible comfort during long days on the water.
Shop Now
Omen Black Spinning Rod
Save this product
13 Fishing
$130.00
Japanese 36 Ton Toray Graphite , 4A Portuguese Cork Handle, ALPS 316 Stainless Steel Guides with Zirconia Inserts.
Shop Now
LoadOut GoBox 30
Save this product
YETI
LoadOut GoBox 30
The MeatEater crew uses our GoBoxes for storing all kinds of gear, from ammo and range hardware to outdoor kitchen essentials, dog accessories, fishing tackle, and gear, camera equipment, truck tools, and medical supplies. Why buy expensive hunting and outdoor gear only to store it in a cheap plastic bin with a lid that doesn't fit correctly? Elevate your gear protection and organization with this waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, and critter...
Save this article