15 Pound Georgia Bass Caught And Released
A small private lake in Dodge County produced a monster bass for Brin Meredith.
Switching to another lake wasn’t looking like the right call for the two anglers, who started the morning of June 29, 2002 fishing a small Dodge County lake and had caught about 25 bass between one and four pounds. Around 1 p.m. Brin Meredith of Atlanta and Hal Harris of Macon decided to try a bigger lake on the same property.
“The bigger lake looked awesome — full of lily pads and cypress trees — and Hal kept saying it had some really big bass,” said Brin, who was fishing the private lakes for the first time as Hal’s guest.
“It was an overcast day. It was actually a pleasant day, not really hot and a breeze was blowing,” Brin said
“We had two big fish roll in the lily pads on a Mann’s Ghost, which is like a plastic Zara-Spook-type bait, but we had not caught anything. ”
Then they started working the cypress trees along the edge of deeper water. The wind was blowing in on the trees. Brin tied on a Castaic gizzard shad, a five-inch long, 1-oz. shallow-running crankbait that has a plastic nose and small lip and a soft-plastic body. The bait looks remarkably like a real shad, and they are expensive — almost $20 each.
“There was this little slot between some trees — an isolated patch of lily pads about the size of my desk. I said to Harris, ‘There’s got to be one in there.’
“I threw that Castaic out there, swept my rod and got it down about three or four feet and stopped it, and she loaded up on it right there.
“I screamed, ‘Man, that is a huge fish!’ It was just so heavy. Then she flashed, and it looked like a road sign under the water. That’s when Harris and I both started screaming. Then she came to the surface, and her eyes looked like horse eyes, her gill plates looked like dust pans, and you could have shoved a volleyball in her mouth, and we really started getting worked up.
“She made one surge under the boat, but when she got up on top of the water, she just wallowed around. She didn’t fight that much. Once she got on top I just skied her across the surface. She was in the boat in 10 seconds. Once we had her, Harris said, ‘That’s the biggest bass I’ve ever seen in my life!’”
On hand-held, spring-style scales with 1-lb. increments, the bass weighed almost directly between the 15- and 16-lb. marks, but just hair toward the 15-lb. side. Hal took several photos of Brin and the bass, then they quickly released the fish.
“Afterwards, I had kind of a sick feeling. I was worried that my scales might have been off, that it might have been a much-bigger bass. The next day I went to the gym and weighed a 5-lb. weight, a 10-lb. weight, then the two weights together, and the scale was right on all three times. That made me feel better. I felt good that it was really a 15, and that it wasn’t a 20-pounder.”
Brin doesn’t regret not weighing the fish on certified scales and having it verified, even though that excludes him from the all-time records of Georgia’s biggest bass.
“I realize you can’t have records without structure and rules. But I told myself a long time ago, if I catch any more big bass, I would just get a fiberglass replica made,” Brin said.
When fishing a small, isolated lake like Brin was, it’s almost impossible to keep a bass alive in order to get it weighed on certified scales, which are located at any store or business where they sell product by weight. Certified scales are checked by the Georgia Department of Agriculture and will have a sticker on the scale. Also, verification requires the names, signatures and addresses of two witnesses to the weighing, and the same info from the owner of the scales. Any fish of state-record class must be seen by a WRD Fisheries biologist.
Anytime a record-caliber fish of any species is caught, call GON at (800) GET-GONE.
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