Lunker Lore: Zach Sypert 14.57 lbs

In this series we'll be hearing from anglers who've landed trophy class bass and try to unearth a few nuggets of wisdom from their encounter with the fish of a lifetime!

Below is Zach Sypert's story of one such bass caught in January of 2019:

It started when my friend Levi texted telling me he was coming in from Arizona for

work. We always fish together when he comes back in town. We usually go to lake Grapevine but he suggested a little lake in the area he heard about.

We started around 1 pm on Saturday January 26. I started out throwing a Chatterbait up shallow while he was throwing around a big swim bait. We fished close to the bank for about an hour with no bites so we decided to go try out some rip rap by the dam. He switched to a jig and I tied on finesse shaky head. Still nothing so we set out to some deeper water. We marked some fish on the graph in about 30 feet of water and started dragging a Carolina rig around. Levi had one bite and I still had nothing. We were just talking about how nice of a day it is and how we were just happy to be out on the water fishing.

We decided to try out one more spot before we left so we idled up the bank about 500 yards and started fishing. Nothing on the graph just bare bottom in 9 feet of water but figured we would give it a shot because it just looked good. Right before we were leaving I decided to tie on a jerk bait and was talking about just letting it sit there and fishing it real slow. Around the 5th cast I went to take the slack out of

my line and I had a fish on. At first I was thinking it was a small bass the way it was fighting. Levi asked if I needed the net and I said no. I got her closer to the boat and all of a sudden she decided it was time to start digging. That’s when I knew I had something big on! Levi asked again are you sure you don’t need the net? I said yeah go ahead and get it! We all know how it is when you don’t have the net on the deck and are scrambling around trying to get it out of the rod locker. He was thinking it was a Gasper Goo (Freshwater Drum) and kept saying I got goo’d. Then we saw her tail and we both started to go crazy. We both knew it was big but we weren’t sure how big. She dove down a couple more times and I made a dumb move and released my spool and let her have some slack but luckily she stayed pinned. I got her up close to the boat and he netted her. As soon as she hit the net my bait fell out of her mouth. I don’t even think I said anything once she was in the boat because I was in shock at the size of her. I’ve never in my life seen a bass as big as she was in person and really just did not know what to think. I immediately turned on my livewell and put her in. I got out my scale and pulled her out of the live well. She weighed 14 lbs 10 oz on my scale, at this point we were on the phone trying to get a hold of whoever we could because I knew I had a lake record and a ShareLunker. A kayaker lent me his hog trough because my board wasn’t long enough and she measured just over

27 inches. We got a call back from Kyle from the Toyota ShareLunker program in Athens and he was asking me questions about the health of the fish and if I would like to donate her to the program. He said he was on his way and would be at the ramp in two hours. She was so big that I had to take out my center divider in my livewell so she could be comfortable and swimming upright. I still cannot believe how lucky I am to have caught a true giant in my life. People strive to catch a bass of this size in their lifetime and I had just done it. The whole experience is something that I will never forget and I will think about for the rest of my life! The feeling is amazing and I hope other anglers get to experience the feeling of catching the sought after double digit bass in their lifetime!

Follow up big bass questions:

Q: How often do you fish? How long do you fish on an average outing?

A: I try to fish at least 2-3 days a week as long as I can.

Q: Do you believe a world record is currently swimming out there?

A: I believe there is a world record in one of our Texas lakes

Q: What’s your favorite big bass bait?

A: 10” worm

Q: What do you think is the biggest mistake most fishermen are making while

chasing big bass?

A: Over thinking, just get out there and spend time on the water

Q: What advice would you give someone trying to catch a double-digit bass?

A: Go out and fish whenever you can. Not going to catch fish sitting on your couch

Q: What’s your favorite time of day to target big bass?

A: Early morning

Q: What kind of structure do you favor for big bass fishing?

A: I like fishing rock

Q: How deep do you usually target them?

A: I move around until I get bit then try to put something together at that depth

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