Fishing records are made to be broken

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Records are made to be broken, or at least that’s what I’ve heard.

When I’m not guiding and just fishing for fun, one of my favorite things to do is fish for big fish. It’s a real challenge sometimes (well, most of the time), but it is rewarding. There are some very respectable sized fish in our state and area. And the record books hold evidence of that.

The North Carolina state record Largemouth bass is 15 pounds 14 ounces from a farm pond in Union County.

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The North Carolina record smallmouth is a whopping 10 pounds 2 ounces (I actually got that one memorized) from Hiwassee reservoir in 1951.

The North Carolina record Rainbow trout of 20 pounds 3 ounces was caught in 2006 by 16-year-old Leah Johnson from the Horsepasture River.

Some other North Carolina notable records are: Brown trout at 24 pounds 10 ounces from the Nantahala River; Blue Catfish at 105 pounds in 2015 from Gaston Lake; Muskellunge at 41 pounds 6 ounces from our own Lake Adger in 2001; and the record Bluegill was 4 pounds 5 ounces from Henderson County.

Just over the border, three of the four bass records for South Carolina came from Lake Jocassee, and also the record Brown trout. The record Smallmouth is 9 pounds 7 ounces; the record Redeye bass a.k.a. Coosa River bass is 5 pounds 2.5 ounces, and the record Spotted bass is 8 pounds 5 ounces by David Preston here in Tryon, N.C. The interesting thing is all three bass records were in 2001, the same year as the North Carolina Muskie record. ‘Twas a good year to fish.

On a larger scale, the world record Largemouth bass is 22 pounds 4 ounces (caught in Georgia in 1932) and 22 pounds 5 ounces (caught in Japan in 2009). The reason they are both the record is you have to beat the current record by at least two ounces.

The world record Smallmouth bass is 11 pounds 15 ounces caught in 1955 on Dale Hollow Lake.

But with anything grand there has to be some drama, or a conspiracy, you know like the moon landings and such. The world record Largemouth was actually blown away by a 25 pound 1 ounce fish in 2006, but the fish was foul hooked (hooked outside of the mouth) which is illegal in the state of California if it’s intentional, which is the case in most places for game fish, and it was not weighed on land.

The world record Smallmouth had stood until 1996 when records were found that someone claimed the fish had been stuffed with weight to make it the record. The fish was removed as the record until 2005 when it was investigated and reinstated.

Records amaze me. They are caught in the strangest places, at the strangest times, using the strangest baits. Such as the North Carolina record Striped bass weighing 66 pounds being caught on a Zoom trick worm in 2012. Really? A Striper on a trick worm?

Rarely does a professional angler, guide, or a die-hard angler set a record; it’s usually done by someone who fishes occasionally. The bait is rarely the latest and greatest lure, but simple live bait, or a lure that’s been around for years.

So I guess you just never know when your next cast may be a record breaker….