Don Barone Blog
Sign up to be notified of new articles when they are published.
Become a Fan
Late Spring Bass | Cranking for Post-Spawners
Deep Fishing Spots | Cover Water Quickly
Fishing Deep Early
Fishing Stick Worms for Bass in the Spring
How to Cast to Shallow Cover | The Lost Art
Spring Bass Fishing with the Micro Bass Grub
Small Waters | Stock a Fish; Grow a Record
How to Swim a Jig for Bass around Other Cover
4 Tips for Better Crankbait Fishing
Spinnerbait Tips for Spring Bass
Most Popular Posts
Five for 5 | Five Bass Fishing Rigs Every Angler Should Know
Fishing Feature | The Wired2Fish Bass Fishing Bait Selector
Possible Tennessee State Record Largemouth Caught
Bass Fishing Feature | The Alabama Rig Comes into the Limelight
The Wired2Fish Top 20 Most Influential Bass Fishing Lures List
Inside the Zoom Bait Company Factory
Five for 5 | Five Low Cost Fishing Baitcasters
Personal Experiences with Castable Umbrella Rigs for Bass Fishing
Bass Fishing Opinion | Lasting Implications of the Alabama Rig
Ethanol Nightmares in Fishing Boats
Posts by category
Alabama Rig (13)
bass fishing (529)
fishing biz (259)
fishing pro (63)
Fishing Tackle (425)
guest blog (7)
ICAST 09 (1)
ICAST 2010 (32)
ice fishing (5)
new products (175)
record fish (7)
striper fishing (4)
tackle review (196)
the Quest (2)
Monthly Fishing Articles
Possible Tennessee State Record Largemouth Caught
Posted by Jason Sealock on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 @ 10:50 PM
We got wind of a story about a big bass caught on Pickwick Lake. Turns out it was caught by our friend Lance Walker, CEO of Browning Eyewear. And it may have been the Tennessee state record largemouth to boot.
Walker has been travelling the country this winter attending various trade shows and boat shows for Browning Eyewear. He finally got a few days at home and called his friend Ray Rittenhour to go chase crappie with him on Pickwick Lake.
Recent rains have had the Tennessee River a mess and the rising of muddy water on Pickwick Lake really hurt the crappie fishing. With a few hours left in the day, they decided to give up on the crappie fishing bust and see if they could just catch a few bass to salvage the day. The rain, mud and rising water limited their options but they figured if they fished some shallow river bars, they might at least catch a couple bass.
Their first fish was a bar fish (striper) and at that point they figured the bass fishing might be a bust too. Walker was fishing with a
Yumbrella umbrella rig
but because he was fishing Tennessee waters he only had 3 wires on it. On the two outside wires he had 3 1/2-inch
Yum Money Minnows
and on the middle one he had a 5 1/2 Yum Money Minnow. The two small ones were on 1/4-ounce
heads and the middle one on a 1/2-ounce
Buckeye J-Will head
. He used a 7-foot, 6-inch heavy action Duckett Micro Magic rod with 65-pound Bass Pro Shops braid and a 6:4.1 Johnny Morris Signature BPS reel.
A few casts later, Walker hooked up with what he guessed was another bar fish or a big catfish. It was making runs, swathing back and forth through the water, but then he noticed his line surging to the surface and he went down to his knees hoping it might be a big bass.
It came to the surface, about 25 yards out from the boat, and rolled and Walker saw lateral lines. The fish made several big runs and Walker thumbed his spool to keep the powerful fish from tearing loose. He finally got the fish up to the boat and they new it was at least a 10-pound class fish, as Walker has modestly caught several double digit bass from Pickwick Lake.
"As soon as Ray grabbed her by the lip with two hands and pulled her in the boat, I knew I had a fish bigger than the 13.3 I caught from Alabama waters on Pickwick three years ago," Walker said. "I got the livewell filled up and put her in there and then took about 10 minutes to 'freak out.'"
Afterward, Walker started calling folks to get the Tennessee State records and find a TWRA official to help weigh his catch. His wife and son met him at the Pickwick State Park where the Park Rangers were waiting to meet him and get good photos of the fish. They finally found a set of reliable scales to weigh the fish. It weighed 14.58, slightly better than the 14 pound, 8 ounce state record caught in 1954. So they knew they were close if not over.
They got a TWRA biologist on the line and he informed them that to certify the catch as a state record they would need blood samples, certified scales, 2 witnesses, dorsal fin clippings, and more to document the catch. In short, the felt the fish would have to die to provide the evidence of the catch being a state record.
The pair deliberated at length on what to do. Go down in the record books and kill the fish, or set it free for someone else to catch down the road some time. It was not an easy decision to make with such a beautiful, healthy, impressive largemouth bass. They measured the bass at 27 1/8 inches and a girth of 24 inches. The formula puts the bass at somewhere between 14.5 to 15.7 pounds.
They made their decision ...
... and took the fish back to the lake and waited for her to shake her head and give a big powerful kick before letting her loose into the wild once again. It's not easy to know you probably have a state record and choose to let it loose, knowing full well you won't get credit for such a magnificent catch.
The potential state-record largemouth bass is swimming in Pickwick Lake. We believe it is. And even if it isn't now, in a month or two, it probably will be. Way to go Lance! We hope to be as Wired2Fish as you one day! What a bass!
Way to go! I'm glad there are people like Lance out there fishing for fun. That's what it's all about.
Posted @ Monday, January 30, 2012 11:03 PM by Chris
I bet it was hard to let the record go but i look up to a man that is willing to give up the record just to make sure she swims another day!!
you've earned my respect!!
Posted @ Monday, January 30, 2012 11:16 PM by Ignacio
good job dude, what was it caught on?
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 12:22 AM by bob
I'm on my way to the lake! LOL!
Fish of a lifetime right there, congrats!
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 3:24 AM by
Good for you Lance! No need killing a fish like that when you have pictures, measurements and even a scale weight. Who needs an "official" record
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 6:10 AM by Charlie Dougherty
Lance Walker is a great personal friend, and an incredible angler. He took the highest of the high roads here, and his friends know who owns both the Tenn and Pickwick lake largemouth bass records. 13.3 and 14.58 from the same lake--I won't see that topped in my lifetime. Way to go, buddy!
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 6:26 AM by Michael Whitten
That's a shame that you have to kill a fish to get it registered as a state record. It seems that there should be a better way to go about it.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 6:49 AM by Scott
Way to go lance. That's amazing story. I caught my biggest fish ever a cpl of weeks ago. My scales that arent digatil. weighed it over ten. I was so excited. The only thing I could think about was gettingit back in the water. I wish I would've got the right measurements for a replic mount. But didn't know and was worried about the fish. Does anyone know were and what your suppose to do for a replica mount in TN. Were need to get that verification process changed to protect the big fish. Something like TX would work a share lunker program.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 7:20 AM by andy
Beautiful souls make for beautiful stories. We need more people and stories like this! Congrats on the catch Lance.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 8:37 AM by
Your name on a piece of paper no one will look at next year, or someone getting the memory of a lifetime later. Memories and the stories that will follow will live forever. The good choice was made.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 8:58 AM by Reid Flade
The picture and the article to me is enough to prove to me that you have the state record. I am so glad you release it , it would of been a shame to see a great species of fish die just because of stupid rules you need to authenticate it. Good luck to the next person who will catch it hopefully it will get even bigger!
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 9:11 AM by
Thanks Lance, that is the real way to show kids how to act when faced w/ a difficult decision. The pride is put aside and you think big picture. I know it was a blessing to catch that pig, but others will come your way for being a true example to all fishermen. Thank you and congrats!
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 9:18 AM by Greg Chupp
Congratulations! Great Fish and my hats off to a great fisherman who knows the true meaning of catch and release. How bought it Tennessee DNR? Surely all our state officials could come up with a better way to document fish catches where the quality of life for a fish is important to the utmost!
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 9:23 AM by Tommy McCook
Awesome fish and great release. Stand-up guy for sure. Thanks for the story.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 10:12 AM by Jon Webb
Releasing that bass will reward Lance with future Big Bass Karma! Kudos!
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 10:48 AM by jocko
You did the act of a true sportsman. Who cares about names in a book when you know in your heart your fish broke the record and you didn't have to kill such a beautiful. Hopefully the one to catch her again is a true sportsman like yourself.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 10:56 AM by Ed Tori
Works for me!
Lance Walker, you are a gentleman and a scholar. I will be investigating the products your company (Browning Eyewear) makes.
I guess the 'Bama rig has proven is can stick pigs as well as limit fish.
Kids, THIS is how it is done.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 11:17 AM by
Congrats man! There aren't many out there like you. Catch and release is the key to future fishing for the younger generations.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 11:53 AM by Erik Walasek
Class act, for sure....there are many positive reasons for releasing a fish like that - leaving her in there for another year to continue her genetics - is the BEST!! He got pictures/measurements - he can have an artificial mount made and still have the satisfaction of knowing she is still out there....I can't say enough about the class/self-sacrifice this man showed with his decision. Our bass fisheries are better off with people that can make decisions like his!! Hats off to Mr. Lance Walker!!!!
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 12:59 PM by barb elliott
why do they need to kill the fish. that's stupid. if it weighs more on certified scales it is the state record. who comes up with these ridiculous rules.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 2:25 PM by
My hats off to Lance for opting to release such a magnificent fish. No record is worth the life of such a great fish. The pictures say it all. Congratulations Lance.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 5:10 PM by Toby Gifford
Awesome catch and a big kudos on letting that fish go. I know it was a hard choice to make. It's just tragic that when our state wildlife organizations are so involved with preserving resources, they can't work out a way to certify a record without killing the fish. Shame on them.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 5:15 PM by
WAY TO GO, everyone should follow your lead and always release big fish, so our grandchildren can catch them! we shouldnn't kill them just to put on a wall, an artificial mount is better because the fish lives on! I just hope the next one to catch her lets her go too!!
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 5:19 PM by james
You are a godsend my friend, indeed!
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 8:13 PM by greg bailey
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 8:38 PM by Mike
Awesome news. Now that is a dedicated and true sportsman !!!!!
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 9:40 PM by Jim Bates
Way to go!
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 9:54 PM by Keith Tyler
my brother corey and i almost always catch and release after a picture,but that one would be hard to let go! great job!
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 10:23 PM by scott stantz
TN needs to seriously reconsider the way their TWRA registers record fish. There is no need to kill a fish to prove it is arecord. Certified scales, witnesses, photographs and statements should suffice.
Talk to the folks in TX, FL and CA about how they certify record bass.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 10:48 PM by Jim Petrous
Let's hope if she is caught again the person who catches her will do the same thing, great job Lance.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 01, 2012 9:06 AM by Tom Haider
Hats off to you Lance, I can only shake my head at the 'WISDUMB' of the TWRA. Your the real champ in my book.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 01, 2012 2:23 PM by John Rutledge
Way to go on both the catch....and the release!! A true sportsman!
Posted @ Wednesday, February 01, 2012 5:55 PM by Tammie Fleming
That fish will probably never be seen again. Should have had it certified, mounted, and eat the meat! Some of us don't just fish for fun, but to put some self-provided food on the table.
Posted @ Thursday, February 02, 2012 8:19 AM by Fish To Eat
You've got the measurements and weight so go have a plastic replica made to commemorate this amazing catch. You did the right thing and showed tremendous class!
Posted @ Thursday, February 02, 2012 8:19 AM by Don Prout
Way to go, I have fished with Ray. He always had the best Interest of the fish in mind.
I still feel the next World Record Small Mouth will come from these waters also.
Posted @ Thursday, February 02, 2012 10:22 AM by
Congrats to you on having the right mind set within you to let this beauty go!! You instantly became one of my fav stories to tell my buddies while on fishing trips. I have all the respect in the world for people who realize what is truly more important!!
Posted @ Thursday, February 02, 2012 4:06 PM by Ed Vienneau
WOW!!! what a fish, what a sportsman.
Posted @ Thursday, February 02, 2012 5:13 PM by rgbassin
Nothing more to say. A true true sportsman and lover of fishing. You are a better man than MOST!!!
Posted @ Thursday, February 02, 2012 7:34 PM by T Nosal
The importatnt thing is that he knew he probably caught a state record, not whether or not anybody elsewould give him credit for it.
Posted @ Thursday, February 02, 2012 10:05 PM by Ed Amass
Congratulations on both the catch....and the release!!
Posted @ Friday, February 03, 2012 11:12 AM by
That is awsome!!"FREE THE FIGHTER"
Posted @ Friday, February 03, 2012 9:37 PM by Benny Parrish
Great fish a true sportman
Posted @ Sunday, February 05, 2012 9:34 PM by Darryl House
Way to go. Great catch and great decision. All of your fishing brethren appreciate your choice.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 08, 2012 10:10 AM by Brad
Great fish no doubt! My Nephew Trevor Gooch did the same thing with a longear sunfish, he caught one that broke the state record last spring called TWRA and they checked it out and weighed it and it did break the record...but as with this fish they had to send it off for verication thus killing it. Trevor stated he knew he had the record and wouldnt kill the fish. So it also is still swimming in Maple Lake.
Posted @ Monday, February 27, 2012 6:14 AM by Jeff Gooch
Way to go lance. Let the big bass live.
Posted @ Thursday, April 19, 2012 6:33 PM by Tom Bohrer
You rock man!!my wife caught a 11pounder in a family owned pond . They are a great fish to catch
Posted @ Monday, May 28, 2012 10:32 PM by Joseph lincoln
Shame on the TWRA for not having better standards and procedures for certifying catches with the ultimate goal of releasing the fish afterwards.
Posted @ Monday, December 24, 2012 1:03 PM by Joseph
Great job and a true sportsman!! I live in TN and TWRA is one of the worst wildlife agencies in the country. Hyde have a reputation of making uninformed decisions across the board on hunting and fishing regulations. It is a shame they require so much to certify a record fish. Sadly i don't see TWRA changing anytime soon.
Posted @ Sunday, February 10, 2013 9:01 PM by Chris
Allowed tags: <a> link, <b> bold, <i> italics
Receive email when someone replies.
Subscribe to this blog by email.
Error sending email
Email sent successfully
Email To :
Your name :
Message : (maximum 200 characters)
Don Barone Blog
© 2013 Wired2fish.com