I've been fortunate to lay hands on some big bass over the years. My personal best passes 10.5 lbs, but that is not the biggest bass I've ever encountered. In 2016, I was fishing a lake in east central Texas when she hit. I was throwing a KVD 8.0 sexy shad squarebill over a sunken pond wall when my rod was nearly jerked out of my hand. I loaded up on the fish with a heavy hookset. She plowed off into deeper water like a freight train. As my drag sang she breached the surface and came two thirds the way out of the water with a mighty head shake. Somehow my hooks held. Once submerged the fish made a wild run to my right and wrapped herself around a post that was sticking out of the water. Within a second she snapped my 25 lb fluorocarbon line like it was sowing thread. I got a great look at this bass and I'm confident she exceeded 13 lbs. I was heartbroken.
For most anglers, the story is much the same. The biggest fish we've ever hooked has got away. Some may call these big fish encounters tall tales. After all, why is it the big one always gets away? The truth of the matter is the biggest bass out there are in fact extremely difficult to catch. They can test an anglers gear and abilities to the max. Often, these big fish get the best of us. As the country gets ready for this year’s hunt for giants during the upcoming spawn, consider these tips to help you land the fish of a lifetime!
1. Know your gear and its capabilities.
2. Try to keep the battle as short as possible. The longer the fish stays in the water the higher the chance she'll come unbuttoned.
3. Get the fish off the bottom as quickly as possible. Strain your gear up to 80% of its max if necessary. You want to get the fish away from any underwater obstructions.
4. Don't be afraid to reset a hook mid battle if you feel as though you didn't get a solid hook set on the bite.
5. Make every effort to keep the fish from jumping. If the fish starts to make a run for the surface force your rod tip deep into the water in an effort to put downward pressure on the fish.
6. Once you get the fish boat side avoid direction changes whenever possible. Doing so can pop hooks loose.
7. Coach your net man. Let him know your plan. Things happen extremely fast, but talking improves your odds. Ideally, he'll lay the net in the water and you'll guide the fish in.
If all this talk of losing big fish has opened an old wound, remember it is better to have hooked and lost than never to have hooked at all! To make yourself feel a little better, check out this video. Is this the biggest bass ever lost?!
For more tips, tricks, and big fish stories check out the best selling new release in bass fishing! Lunker Lore available on Amazon.