11-4 Largemouth Sets St. Marys River Record

Craig James | April 18, 2019

On Saturday, April 14, Don Durr, of Waycross, headed out to fish a small bass tournament on the St. Marys River, with high hopes that lady luck might bring a little good fortune his way.

As he backed his 17 1/2-foot Tracker boat in the water a little after 6 a.m., he had no idea just how good his luck was really going to be.

“I’ve been fishing tournaments my whole life, and it’s a real passion of mine. On Saturday, I was just happy to get to be on the water with my youngest son, Ray, and catching some good fish was going to be a bonus,” said Don.

At safe light, the pair made a short run upriver and began fishing wood cover a little after 7 a.m.

“We chose not to run real far, because it gets really shallow and stumpy up there. We probably went a mile and a half or so upriver from the Traders Hill Boat Ramp where we launched,” said Don.

As the pair worked the bank, it didn’t take long for Ray to pick up the pair’s first fish of the day as they worked wood structure. After putting the chunky 2-lb. fish in the livewell, Don was feeling pretty good about catching some solid keeper fish for the pot tournament.

For the next half hour, Don continued to flip holes in wood cover with a green-pumpkin, Texas-rigged Zoom Brushhog with a 3/8-oz. weight. He was using a KVD reel and a 7-foot Bass Pro Shops graphite rod. At approximately 7:45, there was a sudden thump in his line.

“I was using 30-lb. braid, and I immediately felt the fish pick up the lure. I set the hook hard, and the bass come right up beside the boat within the first four or five seconds into the fight. The second I saw it, I knew it was a good one,” said Don.

The giant ran for deep water, digging down in the water and electing not to come up and jump. After a tense 30 seconds, Ray was able to net the fish for his dad, and the pair realized just how big the fish really was.

Don Durr, of Waycross, with the new St. Marys River largemouth record.

“I knew it was a good fish, but I didn’t know just how big. I caught a 12-pounder down in Florida 33 years ago and haven’t been able to catch anything bigger than an 8-pounder since. I was truly excited to catch such a giant, and I was ready to see just what it would weigh,” said Don.

When he dumped the fish on the tournament scales at weigh-in time, the monster bass weighed 11-lbs., 15-ozs. Easily winning the big-fish prize, the giant helped the father-son team win first place in the tournament with a 17.90-lb. limit.

After learning there wasn’t any GON river records for the St. Marys River, Don wanted to be the first angler to put his name on that list. Don had the fish certified by WRD Fisheries the next morning where it officially weighed 11-lbs., 4-ozs. and certainly set the bar high for those wanting to break the bass record.

“I’m excited to have been able to catch such a fish, it’s been a long time coming,” said Don.

As for the fish, it will be proudly displayed in Don’s home after local taxidermist Ed Griffin—who also mounted the GON Satilla River record bass—completes the mount.

GON has compiled and keeps official records for most major lakes and rivers in Georgia. 



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