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A Big Bass Quest

A little over a year ago a fishing buddy of mine began asking some questions about which public body of water in Nebraska would give him the best chance to catch the biggest largemouth bass of his life.  Knowing where he lived, I instantly had an answer for him.

I teased you with this last Friday, and I realize by now some of you have already seen this, but for those of you who have not, you are going to want to watch this video of his quest over the past year.  If nothing else, you are going to want to see this because there are some really big bass here!


Watch the video and you will know exactly where those fish were caught.  Listen closely and you will know that water body is NOT the only one with the potential to produce some exceptionally large largemouth bass.  If you do not catch it, let me tell you again right here:  If you are looking for the biggest bass, you probably want to find a water body that does not necessarily have a lot of bass.  In fact, for the biggest fish, I would predict that body of water might have a relatively low number/density of bass and that those fish would have an abundance of prey to eat.  There are waters like that around the state, and the same could be said for other species of fish as well.

Now, those big fish are not going to be easy to catch, especially if they are well-fed.  In fact the fish shown in that video took a lot of effort that resulted a lot more “skunkings” than actual success.  But, those big fish are present and with homework and hard work can be caught.  I will also tell you that those biggest specimens likely will not respond to the same techniques and presentations used to capture numbers of fish.  The feeding behavior of big specimens can be highly selective, especially in the presence of an abundance of prey, and until you tap into that, you may find them to be almost impossible to catch.

The fish shown in the video are surely going to spark speculation that Nebraska’s hook & line largemouth bass state record could be broke.

“Not so fast my friend.”–Lee Corso.

Our hook & line state record has been on the books for over 45 years now.  There is a reason for that.  At 10 pounds 11 ounces, it will take a largemouth bass of nearly 11 pounds, or larger, to beat our existing hook & line state record.  That fish would be extremely rare, the rarest of the rare, because that is an awfully big, northern largemouth bass in a northern state like Nebraska.  For such a fish to reach record-size, it is going to have to have exceptional genetics and growth and live under ideal conditions.  Then, even with all of that going for it, that fish is still going to have to live for a number of years, longer than most largemouth bass live in Nebraska waters, and that means that it is going to have to escape capture or been caught and released maybe more than once before it reaches record proportions.  For that reason, even with the video that shows big fish caught from public waters, I stand by my prediction that if our hook & line largemouth bass state record is ever broke, and I think the chances are slim and none, that fish will likely come from a private pond or pit.  That private pond or pit likely will be relatively large compared to other ponds and pits, will have a consistent supply of clean water, excellent habitat conditions, probably relatively few largemouth bass, and an abundance of prey fish.  That body of water likely will not be fished heavily, in fact probably fished hardly at all.

I say that not to say that our hook & line state record will never be broken; I just think the chances are very unlikely.  However, when working with wild creatures in wild systems, I learned a long time ago to never say “never”.

Regardless, I know that big fish capture people’s imagination and here are some examples of some really big largmeouth bass caught from public water in Nebraska!  You know I love that and it motivates me to keep fishing!  You never know what you are going to catch, just GO FISH, because you cannot catch anything sitting at home on the couch!

Oh, and when you catch that big one . . . . Take some pictures and turn her loose.

“There is no better feeling than watching your trophy swim away”–Musky Hunter Magazine

Way to go, Bruce!!!!!

About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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