By STEVEN HAUSLER

shausler@dailynews.net

Paul Bahr always had told his friends that his dream was to catch a state record fish.

That goal might come true for the Ellsworth man.

Bahr's catch will likely be the new state striped bass record, nudging out the old record set in 1988 from Wilson Lake.

The old record of 43.5 pounds was surpassed by at least a half pound, but the official weight could have been a bit more since the certified scale only measured in increments of a half pound, according to Tommie Berger, fisheries biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

"They had a difficult time finding a certified scale that could weigh that big of a fish," Berger said.

"If they could have found a certified scale that measured in 1-ounce increments, it could have been a bit more," he said.

The fish, caught a week ago by Bahr, tipped the scale at 44 pounds. The striped bass had a length of 44 inches and a girth of 30 inches.

Berger verified the catch and has submitted the details of the new potential state record fish. The process of verification calls for a 30-day waiting period before the record becomes official.

The fish that held the previous record was landed by Chester Nily of Sylvan Grove on May 18, 1988. Nily caught his fish using a live white bass on a rod and reel also at Wilson Lake.

Bahr caught the new state record using live shad on rod and reel while trolling the bait in 3 feet of water.

Bahr's daughter landed a striper just three weeks ago weighing right at 40 pounds, so he knew the potential was there to catch a state record fish, Berger said.