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Entries in trophy bass (80)


The Ones That Got Away --- from Bill Dance, Kevin Short, and Others

Bill Dance photo courtesy of Bill Dance

One of the essays in my new book Why We Fish is entitled “The Big Story.”

It explores our desire to “catch a big one” as a motivation for why we go fishing. And it includes the stories of several anglers, including Bill Dance and bass pro Kevin Short, who lost big ones that they’ll never forget.

Here’s an excerpt from Bill’s story:

But the next time the bass ran under the boat, the line went slack, and Dance retrieved his fishless popper.

He was devastated.

“I wanted to catch him so bad,” he remembers. “I went back there for weeks and months. I went back early and late. I went back at night.

“I fished up and down that bluff, knowing that smallmouth bass have home-range tendencies. I went for a year, I know.”

And he spoke often of the one that got away.

Finally, wife Diane said, “I know what that fish means to you. It will be imprinted on your mind for the rest of your life. I know how you feel and I am so sorry.

“But will you please stop talking about that fish?

Decades later, though, he still talks.

You can learn more about Bill’s battle with that big smallmouth and what happened afterward in Why We Fish.

Here are two links for purchase:

NorLights Press, the publisher

Amazon (both hard copy and Kindle)


Behind the Scenes at the Lunker Bunker

ShareLunker 547. Texas Parks and Wildlife photo.

Check out the new 14-minute video at the Texas ShareLunker Facebook page. It shows what happened when ShareLunker No. 547 was taken into the Lunker Bunker at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens.

You also can see a video in which Donald Deville tells how he caught that 14.06-pound largemouth at Lake Fork.


Catch Confirms Trophy Bass Await Florida Anglers

Here’s a “fish of a lifetime” certainly worthy of mention.

FWC’s Tom Champeau was fishing with Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris (right) and NASCAR champion Tony Stewart (left) when he caught this 11-pound, 8-ounce largemouth bass.

Capt. Mike Tipton was guiding them on the upper St. Johns River near Three Forks Conservation Area when the big fish struck.

“Catching and releasing a trophy bass while fishing with the founder of our major sponsor was an incredible experience,” said Champeau. “The only way I could have scripted it better would be for either Johnny or Tony to catch her.”

Bass Pro Shops is a major partner for Florida’s new TrophyCatch program.

Champeau’s catch will be entered. But as an FWC employee, he is not eligible for any rewards other than a handsome certificate commemorating his catch.

“Catching a bass of a lifetime, with Johnny Morris and a racing legend like Tony Stewart, was the best reward I could ever ask for,” said Champeau.


Big Bass Plentiful in Florida Waters According to Nosca List

Did you know that two largemouth bass weighing more than the current world record (22 pounds, 4 ounces) might have been caught in Florida years ago?

One of them reportedly weighed 24-12 and was taken in 1974 at Lake Toho, while the other reportedly weighed 23-2 and was captured “circa 1880” in Lake County “near Altoona.”

These are but two of the hefty bass included in Paul Nosca’s All-time Top-25 Biggest Florida Largemouth Bass. The list includes both bass that were certified and/or documented and those that were not. Those two potential record-breakers are among the latter.

To bass of 20 pounds or more are included on the list, with the smallest of the top 25 weighing 17-12.

With Florida just beginning its TrophyCatch program, this list provides a great reminder of the big bass swimming in the waters of the Sunshine State.


Oklahoma Stocking Turns Arbuckle into Big Bass Fishery

Jeff Reynolds and Johnny Thompson hoist their winning limit of largemouth bass Jan. 19 at Lake of the Arbuckles. These five fish weighed 42.04 pounds. (Courtesy of Backyard Bassin' Tournament Trail)

Texas and California aren’t the only states where anglers catch big Florida-strain largemouth bass outside their native range.

Twice during January, Oklahoma’s Lake of the Arbuckles yielded five-fish limits weighing more than 40 pounds during tournaments. That’s an impressive 8-pound-plus average.

"Historically, Arbuckle has not been a great bass fishery. It was dominated by large numbers of small, slow-growing bass," said Gene Gilliland, assistant fisheries chief with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

"In the early 1990s, the Wildlife Department backed off on stocking Florida strain largemouth in Arbuckle because there was a period when the department didn't have enough production from the hatchery to stock Florida bass in very many lakes in the state."

About a decade ago, as the hatcheries' Florida strain largemouth production increased, the Wildlife Department resumed stocking them in Arbuckle and other Oklahoma lakes to enhance the trophy possibilities.

"Those fish have obviously matured," Gilliland said. "The fish that we stocked, or the offspring of those stocked fish, are now turning into these trophy bass that are being caught on a pretty regular basis for about the past three years."

Read more here.