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Record Fish Program

Fishing Partners Break Striped Bass State Record

Cousins Ciara Hawkins and Emily Hatfield didn’t expect to catch a state record striped bass. They had been catfishing from a favorite riverbank in southern Indiana all day, and the two women hadn’t felt a bite yet. Then Hawkins’ pole got stuck in a tree.

But as it suddenly started to fall, she saw that she had a fish, and set her hook. Instantly, the pair saw that the fish was massive.

The ground below them was so slick that Hawkins couldn’t grip the rod by herself and stay up, so Hatfield held her steady as Hawkins reeled. The momentary adrenaline rush energized them as they heaved the fish to shore. This tug-of-war while keeping a fish on the hook was their favorite part of the sport—the bigger the struggle, the greater the satisfaction. With their last bits of strength, they excitedly hauled the fish ashore. Each had caught big catfish before, but none had compared to the 40-pound, 3.8-ounce striped bass that ultimately proved to be a state record.

Thanks to their family ties, Hawkins and Hatfield have been fishing partners for almost all their lives. Although they often fish with the rest of their family, they’re inspired most by Hawkins’ father, Jasper. When Hawkins and Hatfield caught their record striped bass, he helped them certify their catch with DNR. Setting a state record may be an end goal for some anglers, but Hawkins and Hatfield aren’t leaving their favorite fishing spot anytime soon—they’re always looking forward to getting back on the water and fishing again.

If you think you’ve caught a state record fish, follow the steps below:

  • Both weight and length are required for record fish entries. The weight measurement must be taken before the fish is frozen, on a scale certified by the State of Indiana to be accurate to 1 ounce. Each district’s DNR fisheries biologist (listed at has a certified scale. You can also find certified scales at meat markets or farm-related retailers.
  • If a DNR scale is not used, obtain and submit a copy of the Scale Inspection Report from the owner of the store where the fish is weighed.
  • Submit a photo or printed meat packaging label (if available) showing the weight of the fish and where it was weighed.
  • After weighing, the fish may be gutted and iced, but not filleted or otherwise cut up. The fish must be available for inspection and identification and may require verification by a DNR fisheries biologist. It is the responsibility of the angler to schedule a time to have the fish examined by a DNR fisheries biologist.
  • Two witnesses who are not relatives of the angler must observe the weight and length measurement and sign the entry form, which is at
  • Provide side-view photograph(s) of the fish and a copy of the angler’s fishing license, if the angler requires a license.

These records are waiting to be broken, so go fish!