Premier Angler is a freshwater fishing resource and brand written, edited, curated, and crafted by fishing enthusiasts for fishing enthusiasts. We also participate in the Bass Pro Shops Affiliate program. Some links on this page may direct you to the Bass Pro Shops website. If you make a purchase through one of those links, we may receive a small commission.
For anglers of all ages and experience, the joys and benefits of fishing are innumerable. Very little compares to a day when the conditions are right and the fish decide to bite.
When you happen to land a once-in-a-lifetime catch, however, that makes for a day you’ll never forget.
For one Missouri angler, hauling in that magnificent catch came with a little added notoriety thanks to the power of social media.
On Saturday, December 7, Mark Wilson of Clinton, Missouri, was fishing on Truman Lake with his 13-year-old son, Alexx.
A Navy veteran who has struggled with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, Wilson considers his time on the water as “lake therapy.” He has even made a point to take other veterans fishing with him in the past.
“I think all our veterans need to know about this lake therapy for PTSD,” said Wilson, who has been fishing Truman for the past ten years.
Not only is Truman Lake both conveniently located and cathartic, but it also plays host to some of the best crappie fishing in Missouri. For Wilson, who admits to having a “passion for the thump,” it’s hard to imagine a much better setting to ply his craft.
A father of six, Wilson also has an older son, Gracesen, who works as a deckhand at Truman Lake’s Bucksaw Resort and Marina.
Gracesen shares his father’s passion for fishing and has competed in tournaments. Wilson even joked about a friendly father-and-son competitiveness between the two.
Instead of joining his father and brother on the water that day, however, Gracesen opted to go hunting instead.
“He was crushed he didn’t go,” said Wilson.
Alexx, on the other hand, is a relative angling novice. Nonetheless, he played a vital role in helping make his father’s memorable catch a reality.
“He ran the net, and I’m really glad he was there,” said Wilson. “As soon as we got her to the boat, the jig popped out. There’s a reason (that fish) is as old as she is.”
After recording the length and weight at Bucksaw Marina, Wilson released an absolute slab that many would have mounted and stuck on their wall.
“It was so nice to watch her swim off tonight,” said Wilson. “So she’s back in there along with the 10 or so other fish we caught today.”
Measuring 18 inches and weighing an impressive 3.68 lbs, the fish was an absolute sight to see. So much so that it caught the attention of thousands on Facebook.
After Wilson shared a photo to his own wall, it was seen by Mike Valentine, also from the Clinton area.
Once Valentine posted the photo to his Crappie Masters All American Tournament Trail Facebook page, Wilson’s “fifteen-minutes-of-fishing-fame” officially began!
In under 24 hours, the photo had been liked by 4,500 people and shared over 1,000 times. More than 300 comments poured in, offering both congratulations to Wilson for his catch and a platform for other anglers to share photos of their own personal bests.
Within a few hours, Wilson’s Truman Lake crappie was arguably the hottest fish on Facebook.
Despite the unexpected attention, Wilson has remained humble and is thankful that his catch has been able to get more people talking about crappie fishing.