n bass fishing, the size of your biggest bass
is everything. It marks personal goals, gains
bragging rights from friends, and is often one of the first questions asked when you start talking
bass fishing with someone.
“What’s your PB?” or “what’s the biggest bass
you have ever caught?” It is a question that often
comes up among fishermen and even non-fishing
people you run into.
In the last year, I tried to break my own personal
best bass for all species by dedicating my time to the
places they live, focusing on the hottest lakes I heard
about and trying to hit them at the right time.
It thankfully worked out for me for all three of
the major bass species, and I’m now on the hunt for
even bigger bass.
Here’s the story of each of them and the new
marks for me to try to beat each time out.
A TEXAS-SIZED PERSONAL BEST LARGEMOUTH
My personal best largemouth (before this year) was 8.88-pounds, but I had also caught several over 8-pounds in California, Texas, Florida, Idaho, and one just shy of that in Washington.
That eight-pound class was my benchmark for years, and I could never break the 9-pound mark, let alone the “double digit” that all bass anglers recognize as a true trophy largemouth.
It’s no secret that Texas has some excellent bass fishing and some of the biggest bass caught in the past several years have come from the Lone Star State. One of the hottest lakes on the planet in the past two years is O.H. Ivie, located in the west-central part of the state. It’s a remote lake with limited amenities around it.
Still, it has experienced a massive boom of angler traffic since the big bass started being caught and submitted to the state’s ShareLunker program that rewards anglers for catching big largemouth.
While staying outside of Austin, I saw that I was under three hours away from it and instantly set my sights on the lake.
I did all of the research I could to put myself in the right position to catch one of the many giants that live there. I missed the big window in the pre-spawn where anglers caught most of the monsters, but the tail end of the spawn and post-spawn period was the only time I could get away and fish.
I still didn’t hit it this year, but I stuck my biggest with a 9.34-pound fish in 100-degree heat on a Strike King 6XD crankbait in 18-feet of water. It’s not the biggest caught there by any means, but it’s my new personal best mark. I’ll be trying hard to break it and will be returning to this special lake the next chance I get.
In addition to big bass, the lake is chock full of wood, so it’s no wonder big bass have thrived there. It reminded me of desert lakes in the west with plenty of rock, clear water, and a desolate feel like Lake Mead, only with much larger bass swimming in it.
PB SPOT IN GEORGIA
The spotted bass is foreign to me compared to largemouth and smallmouth as I’ve lived in three states my adult life and none of them have a sizable population of spots.
Nevada, Florida, and Washington have many bass fishing opportunities, but spotted bass are not one of them.
My only experience targeting these fish was the by-
catch of small spotted bass you sometimes find in
southern reservoirs when targeting largemouth and
from a handful of trips to Lake Shasta. Because of this,
my mark to hit was pretty obtainable.
When in Georgia, I fished several lakes known for
big spots and caught what I would consider big, several
in the 3-pound range, topped by a 3.94-pound fish on a
Yamamoto Senko on a Neko Rig under a deep dock.
There are undoubtedly many bigger PBs from
spotted bass among those reading this, but I’m
pleased with my new biggest and will be trying hard
to break my record from now on. They are a fun fish
to target, and I’ve gained a new appreciation for them
after spending some more time chasing them.