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8 lb. Spotted Bass?


Mike Clifford
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Unbelievable to hear Spotted Bass and 8lbs. in the same sentence!

 

 

Our Record Bass Waters Revisited

What are the chances of catching a new state-record black bass from the lakes that established the present marks? Let’s take a look. (April 2007)

By Robert H. Cleveland Jr.

 

When you study Mississippi’s official list of state freshwater fish records, one anomaly jumps out at you that is as unusual as a catfish attacking a Zara Spook.

 

It’s that odd, but it’s right there in print: S. Ross Grantham caught the 8-pound, 2-ounce spot on Sept. 2, 1975 — from a farm pond in Jones County.

 

It is with that line that any story about Mississippi’s state-record fish must start, especially one that looks at the records for the Magnolia State’s three native black bass species — spotted, largemouth and smallmouth.

 

An 8-pound, 2-ounce spotted bass is a world-class catch. On the other hand, catching it from a farm pond just seems too weird to be true. And every time you mention it to a member of the Fisheries Division of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, you get the same kind of response.

 

The person will laugh, sort of under his breath, shake his head a bit, and then say something like, “Oh yeah, the record spot — here we go again.”

 

Even the biologists charged with keeping such state records have a hard time accepting the accuracy of that spotted bass record. They have to maintain it, because their predecessors accepted it.

 

The original paperwork reporting the catch is still in the file, albeit in a far different form than most other state records. There is even a picture of Grantham in the file with what looks like a spotted bass, but even that does little to end the doubts.

 

“It does seem odd that a Kentucky spotted bass that big would come out of a farm pond,” said Ron Garavelli, chief of fisheries. “That species is not one you relate to a farm pond. They are a river fish.

 

“I’m not saying they can’t live in a farm pond, or that it’s impossible that one could get that big, but, yes, it does seem odd.”

 

Of the three black bass species on the state-record list, the Kentucky spotted bass is the one for which most fishermen say the record will be the hardest to beat — even harder than the 18.15-pound record for largemouth bass!

 

And let there be no doubt that it is the one with the longest odds of having its record broken in the same lake as the existing record — or any other farm pond. Just look at the other two bass species.

 

The smallmouth record of 7 pounds, 15 ounces should be the easiest to break, even though Thomas Wilbanks’ fish has topped the list for 20 years. It was caught Jan. 24, 1987, in the Yellow Creek area of Pickwick Lake. It is also the bass record most likely to be broken by a fish caught in the same waters.

 

“I can’t believe it hasn’t been broken already,” said Larry Pugh, a state fisheries biologist in the northeast Mississippi region, home to the only habitat in the state where smallmouths swim. “I’ve seen a lot of fish come close in the past few years, and I guarantee you there are 8-pounders out there swimming around, lots of them.

 

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Unbelievable to hear Spotted Bass and 8lbs. in the same sentence!

Our Record Bass Waters Revisited

What are the chances of catching a new state-record black bass from the lakes that established the present marks? Let’s take a look. (April 2007)

By Robert H. Cleveland Jr.

 

When you study Mississippi’s official list of state freshwater fish records, one anomaly jumps out at you that is as unusual as a catfish attacking a Zara Spook.

 

It’s that odd, but it’s right there in print: S. Ross Grantham caught the 8-pound, 2-ounce spot on Sept. 2, 1975 — from a farm pond in Jones County.

 

It is with that line that any story about Mississippi’s state-record fish must start, especially one that looks at the records for the Magnolia State’s three native black bass species — spotted, largemouth and smallmouth.

 

An 8-pound, 2-ounce spotted bass is a world-class catch. On the other hand, catching it from a farm pond just seems too weird to be true. And every time you mention it to a member of the Fisheries Division of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, you get the same kind of response.

 

The person will laugh, sort of under his breath, shake his head a bit, and then say something like, “Oh yeah, the record spot — here we go again.”

 

Even the biologists charged with keeping such state records have a hard time accepting the accuracy of that spotted bass record. They have to maintain it, because their predecessors accepted it.

 

The original paperwork reporting the catch is still in the file, albeit in a far different form than most other state records. There is even a picture of Grantham in the file with what looks like a spotted bass, but even that does little to end the doubts.

 

“It does seem odd that a Kentucky spotted bass that big would come out of a farm pond,” said Ron Garavelli, chief of fisheries. “That species is not one you relate to a farm pond. They are a river fish.

 

“I’m not saying they can’t live in a farm pond, or that it’s impossible that one could get that big, but, yes, it does seem odd.”

 

Of the three black bass species on the state-record list, the Kentucky spotted bass is the one for which most fishermen say the record will be the hardest to beat — even harder than the 18.15-pound record for largemouth bass!

 

And let there be no doubt that it is the one with the longest odds of having its record broken in the same lake as the existing record — or any other farm pond. Just look at the other two bass species.

 

The smallmouth record of 7 pounds, 15 ounces should be the easiest to break, even though Thomas Wilbanks’ fish has topped the list for 20 years. It was caught Jan. 24, 1987, in the Yellow Creek area of Pickwick Lake. It is also the bass record most likely to be broken by a fish caught in the same waters.

 

“I can’t believe it hasn’t been broken already,” said Larry Pugh, a state fisheries biologist in the northeast Mississippi region, home to the only habitat in the state where smallmouths swim. “I’ve seen a lot of fish come close in the past few years, and I guarantee you there are 8-pounders out there swimming around, lots of them.

 

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I just love the Spotted Bass. I wish we had more areas here in IL to catch them. Closest bass species to a smallmouth in fight and aggressiveness.

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