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Indiana fish record falls again on Lake Michigan outing

Phillip Duracz on Jan. 10, 2023, caught a new Indiana record burbot weighing 11.4 pounds on Lake Michigan. (Provided Photo/Indiana Department of Natural Resources)

VALPARAISO, Ind. (WISH) — Just two weeks after a Valparaiso man broke Indiana’s 32-year fish record for the largest burbot, another man came along and broke the record again, the state Department of Natural Resources says.

Phillip Duracz on Jan. 10 caught a new state record burbot weighing 11.4 pounds on Lake Michigan.

On Dec. 30, also on Lake Michigan, Scott Skafar first caught a 10.2-pound burbot that beat Indiana’s 1990 record by 2.5 pounds, the department says. That same day, he caught another burbot that bested the 1990 record by nearly 2 pounds.

The department did not say where Duracz resides but noted he also holds another state record for Lake Whitefish on Lake Michigan, 9.34 pounds set in 2021.

Burbot, a freshwater fish, can appear to some people as a cross between a whiskered catfish and an eel. Burbots, a part of the cod family, are native to Lake Michigan and feed on other fish, the department says. Usually, burbots stay deep in the lake, but can be caught from November to April when water temperatures cool and the fish move closer to shore to feed. The burbot is often called a “poor man’s lobster” because of its similar taste to the crustaceans.

Ben Dickinson, a Lake Michigan fisheries biologist, said in a statement that recent warm weather and light winds gave anglers “excellent opportunities” on the waterway that’s usually quite dangerous for fishing in the winter.

Sean Konrad caught the largest burbot in the world, at 25 pounds 2 ounces, on March 27, 2010, on Lake Diefenbaker in Saskatchewan, Canada, according to The International Game Fish Association.

Indiana also keeps a list online of record-sized fish.