A possible record-breaking largemouth came out of Tennessee’s Pickwick Lake — and chances are, it’s still there.
Lance Walker, CEO of Browning Eyewear, landed a monster 14.58 pound bass that measured at 27 1/8 inches with a 24-inch girth.
But the big bass won’t be hanging on Walker’s wall anytime soon, as Walker decided to release the fish back into the lake.
According to Wired 2 Fish, Walker hit Pickwick Lake with his friend, Ray Rittenhour, with the intent of catching a few crappie, but rains and rising, muddy waters made crappie fishing a bust.
The pair decided to try their hand at bass fishing, and after landing a striper, Walker hooked what he believed to be another striper or a huge catfish on his 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.
But after taking the line back and forth for a while, Walker finally got a good look at the fish at about 25 yards out, thumbing the spool before finally getting the fish up to the boat, knowing instantly he was dealing with a 10-pound class fish.
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“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.'”
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Walker’s wife and son, and a few Pickwick State Park rangers, met up with Walker on shore, where they got pictures and put the fish on some reliable scales. The bass weighed in at 14.58 pounds — just over the 14-pound, 8-ounce bass caught in 1954. However, a TWRA official told them over the phone that he would need blood samples, dorsal fin clippings, two witnesses and certified scales to verify the record.
Rather than kill the fish, Walker made the tough decision to set the bass free, and giving others the opportunity to reel in the big bass. So if you’re down in Pickwick Lake, don’t mess around; there’s a state-record contender in those waters.