10.48-lb. Spotted Bass Could Be New World Record

Daryl Kirby | March 20, 2014

Many weekend anglers daydream of catching a world-record bass, and tournament fishermen typically pray for big-fish of the tourney that will put them over the top for first place. A tournament angler in California got all wishes granted with one bite on Feb. 22.

Jaws dropped when Keith Bryan, 49, of Novato, Calif., pulled his kicker bass out the weigh-in bag after day one of the two-day California Tournament Trails pro/am event on New Melones Lake. The spotted bass measured 24 1/2 inches long and had a 22 1/8-inch girth. It weighed a staggering 10.48-pounds—a spotted bass!

The current world-record spotted bass is a 10.27-lb. monster caught on California’s Pine Flat Lake on April 21, 2001, by Bryan Shishido. Interestingly, Bryan Shishido caught the current world-record spotted bass during a tournament—an American Bass Association tournament—and it also hit a Senko. That record spot was 24 inches long and had a 21-inch girth.

Keith Bryan, who runs Powell Rods when he’s not fishing weekend tournaments, took his bass to a nearby market to find a certified scale. There, the bass weighed 9.91 pounds. Meanwhile, the tournament scale was sent to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) for testing and certification.

When we spoke with Keith on March 12, he confirmed that the tournament scale was certified as accurate by Jack Vitek, IGFA records coordinator.

“It was certified as of yesterday,” Keith said.

Vitek told, “We’re going to go with that original weight because that was the most accurate as far as when the fish was weighed after being caught.”

While the scale has been certified, the record won’t be confirmed and verified until a two-month or longer IGFA process.

New Melones Lake is a 12,500-acre man-made reservoir in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains about 85 miles southeast of Sacramento and about 140 miles east of San Francisco.

“She hit a 5-inch wacky-rigged Senko, the 300 color (green-pumpkin and purple with copper flake) rigged with a small nail weight in the head,” Keith said.

With a 10.48-lb. spotted bass as your kicker, needless to say Keith’s day-one catch was tops for the day with a 21.39-lb. total. He held on with another 17.10 pounds on day two to win the tournament. 

The Senko was rigged wacky-style—hooked in the middle so both ends of the worm pulse as it’s worked—on a 2/0 Gamakatsu Fineese Wide Gap Weedless hook.

Keith was using one of his new Powell Inferno 610 medium extra-fast spinning rods paired with a Shimano Sahara 3000 spinning reel. The reel was spooled with Power Pro braided line and a leader of 8-lb. Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon. IGFA is also considering Keith’s catch as an 8-lb. test line class world record for spotted bass.

Dan O’Sullivan, a tournament angler and outdoor journalist from Rocklin, Calif., said it wouldn’t surprise him at all if an even larger spotted bass is caught soon from New Melones or one of several other California lakes.

“These are Alabama Coosa spots that were stocked out here,” Dan said, “and they just have the perfect food and habitat scenario.”

The key is kokinee, a small, land-locked version of a salmon.

“It’s one of those candy-bar type things these fish get on to,” Dan said. “It just fits the spotted bass perfectly.”

Georgia’s state-record spotted bass weighed 8-lbs., 2-ozs. and was caught at Lake Burton in 2005 by Wayne Holland.

Keith said the attention from other anglers at the tournament was special.

“You know, whether it goes as a record, I don’t care. Look, I’d love to have the record, I’m not going to lie. But even if the record thing doesn’t work out, the neatest thing was to have it happen right there. Bam! Like that, right in front of everybody. It was crazy.”

After weighing the fish at the nearby market, Keith returned to the New Melones Lake boat ramp. He walked out on the dock and slipped the bass into the water. Along with a group of on-lookers, Keith watched as the potential world-record spotted bass swam out of sight.

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