12.6-Pound Savannah River Largemouth Caught And Released

A big-bass dream fulfilled for angler fishing from a kayak.

GON Staff | March 28, 2023

A dream came true for Michael Mooney when he caught this 12.60-lb. largemouth while fishing the Savannah River on March 15, 2023. After a few quick pictures, Michael released the huge bass and got a splash in the face as the big fish swam away.

Michael Mooney has some huge bass to his credit over the years, including a 12-lb., 6-oz. largemouth that still holds the record as the biggest ever caught from McDuffie Public Fishing Area, and his biggest bass was another 12-plus pounder from a private pond. But Michael still had a goal he’s been pursuing for three decades.

“I have hoped to catch a double-digit prespawn largemouth in the Savannah River for over 30 years,” Michael said. “I’ve seen several on beds over the years, but I don’t bed fish. My biggest bass from the Savannah was 9-lbs., 9-ozs.”

On March 15, Michael, who lives in Grovetown, loaded up his fishing kayak and headed for a spot that’s on the stretch of river between the Thurmond Dam at Clarks Hill Lake and the Stevens Creek dam north of Augusta.

“After catching three smaller fish, I was fishing my way back to my truck still working my jig around some logs, brush and waterweed. I felt what I thought was another large pickerel hit and miss my jig. After two or three reel turns, this fish got my jig and stopped it,” Michael said. “Thinking I had another pickerel, I began to work the fish—and then the first run came. After about 20 feet, I knew what I had wasn’t a pickerel. I tried turning the fish toward deeper water away from submerged brush. At the last minute, she turned and made another run past the front of my kayak. I was able to turn all the way around, keeping her on the bow end as I started gaining control. Then she ran under me, where I got my first glimpse. My hopes for a 10-pound-plus fish started to rise.

“I got her to turn underneath me. Then as she started another burst from under me, she started coming up to try and jump. I slid my net underneath her and eased her into the boat. When I lifted her from net, I knew I had finally caught what I had been chasing for a long time. I attached my scale to her jaw, raised her up and watched as the numbers began climbing. When the numbers passed 10 pounds and kept climbing, I felt it coming to pass. The scale stopped at 12.60 pounds, making her the heaviest largemouth I had ever caught, passing my old record by 3 ounces.”

The official record largemouth bass from the Savannah River is a 15-pounder caught in 1999 by Mike Stille, who was fishing near Clyo Landing in Effingham County on the lower end of the Savannah.

“It was a blessing to hold this beautiful bass for a few minutes. I kept her in my net to allow her to recover, got a few quick pictures and released her back to her world,” Michael said. “She washed my face good as she released that was back in the river.”

The Savannah River Fishing Page

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  1. Turkey Tails on April 5, 2023 at 3:31 pm

    I think I would like this guy if I met him. Glad he is livin’ the dream!

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