It’s no secret that Florida is home to some monster Largemouth Bass. What is usually kept a secret is where in Florida they’re caught. In this segment of Big Fishes Only, we were fortunate enough to catch up with an awesome angler, Jackson Kayak Fishing Team member Jean Wilson out of the Tallahassee, FL area. She’s no stranger to big bass, with multiple in the double-digit territory, so trust me when I say, I’m stoked that she took time for us, as we’re in the business of learning and expanding our boundaries to find more fish. Here’s Jean, as she fills us in on her side of the story:
“I was kayak fishing the first week of February 2017 during a low pressure afternoon catching Suwannee and largemouth bass. A nasty looking thunderstorm was approaching so I decided to make a few casts at a previously productive spot before calling it a day. The area was about a two foot depth small clearing and depression just outside a little side creek where I caught an 11 lbs 11oz bass six weeks earlier.
I was buzzing the paddletail at the top pretty quickly, casting upstream into eel grass and clumps of wild rice, retrieving it downstream with the flow.
The bass exploded on the lure so quickly and aggressively that I don’t even consciously remember setting the hook. She dove immediately down into the grass and when I felt the heft and strength of her body pull drag I knew she had to be a huge fish.
My heart was racing and I was holding my breath hoping that she did not escape. One of the common ways that I lose big bass is when they dive into the stalks of lily pads or, in this case, a stalk of wild rice. Keeping the line taut, I pulled myself over to the spot where I hoped she was still hooked. Until I saw the fish I was not even certain that it was a bass. It could have been a huge bowfin. As I cleared the grass and peered below I caught sight of a true monster river bass and my jaw dropped in amazement at her size! When I reached down and grabbed her jaw and brought her to the surface I was astounded by her immense head and body. She was just huge all over and unlike anything I’d seen before despite having caught other giant bass. She was truly in a class of her own!
When I lifted her into the kayak and onto the hawg trough I had to prop up the measuring board with my feet to prevent it from breaking under her heft. My whole body was shaking with excitement as I quickly documented her length at 28 inches and girth at 22 inches.
In order to qualify for TrophyCatch Florida records a picture of the entire bass on a scale must be submitted. I had to stand in the kayak, holding the giant bass on the scale with one hand and take a picture from above with my iPhone. I could barely hold her up since I was still shaking with excitement and from the strain of her weight. All the while I was in a hurry to get the proper pictures and get her back in the water and paddle back to the ramp before the violent storm approached.
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Who would like to hear more from the adventures of Jean Wilson? I know we would! Let us know your thoughts on the catch, below!