Skip to main content Skip to main content

Kriet's Birthday Miracle

Catch, release and catch pays off big for Kriet and partner

Kriet's Birthday Miracle
Jeff Kriet and Gene Eisenmann show off part of their 31-pound stringer in a Lake Murray event. (Courtesy Jeff Kriet)

It wasn’t a world record, but the 11-pounder Jeff Kriet netted May 19 turned out to be a pretty special birthday present.

To understand the significance of the catch, it’s necessary to start at the beginning, two years ago. On April 6, 2010, Jeff Kriet went fun fishing on Lake Murray with Gene Eisenmann, a friend of his. He found and caught a giant bass bedding on top of a stump, and Eisenmann encouraged him to have it weighed.

“I was just going to let it go,” Kriet said. “My buddy Gene told me I needed to weigh it.”

The behemoth tipped the scales at 12.12 pounds and was certified as the new lake record.


“After they certified it, I wanted to leave it in the marina, because you can’t fish in there,” Kriet said. “So I let it go right there next to the gas dock thinking maybe we would get at least one good spawn out of her.”


Fast forward to May 19, Kriet’s birthday, and he and Eisenmann loaded up to fish a small tournament on Lake Murray. He was able to get out the day before the derby and found one offshore hump that seemed promising.

“I pulled up on that deal first thing in the morning and caught a 3-pounder,” Kriet said. “75 percent of the time that will be big bass. The next one we caught was an 11-something. I netted it and got lined back up and caught a 9.”

Before he could catch his breath, Kriet and Eisenmann had compiled a jaw-dropping 31-pound stringer, something unheard of on Lake Murray.

“I figure catching a 31-pound sack there is like catching a 60-pound sack on Falcon,” Kriet said. “It’s just unheard of. There was a jackpot last night and it probably took 7 or 8 pounds to win. It’s one of those lakes where if you catch over 10 pounds, you have a chance to win. There are some big fish in there, but they are just random. And I caught those fish on back-to-back throws.”




His biggest stringer previously there was around 21 or 22 pounds and they topped that by nearly 10. Second place was 11.5 pounds, the size of Eisenmann’s one fish. The other anglers in the tournament were left shaking their heads. How else do you explain such an occurrence other than calling it a birthday miracle?

“They can’t get mad – that’s so unheard of on that lake,” Kriet said. “It was just one of those fluke deals where everything lined up – I don’t know if it will ever be done again.”

The real surprise came later that day when he received a call from Eisenmann.


When they started looking back and comparing pictures of the 12.12 Kriet caught in 2010 and the 11-pounder Eisenmann boated in the tournament, the fish looked identical. The telling mark was a black dot on the jaw of the fish reminiscent of Dottie, the 25-pounder caught in California.

There is no doubt in either of the two anglers’ minds that it was the same fish. Kriet was floored that his catch-and-release tactics from two years ago paid off.

“I was just blown away – catch and release sure works,” Kriet said. “It was probably only a mile and a half from where I caught her the first time and only a mile and a half from the marina where she was released.

“That was an awesome birthday present. It was just a fishing day I’ll never forget.”

Dottie 2.0 still swims in the waters of Lake Murray after another successful release by Kriet and Eisenmann.

“Maybe I’ll get lucky,” Kriet said, “and catch her again two years from now.”

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Kayak Propulsion Options: Paddle, Pedal or Power? Which is Best for You?

Kayak Propulsion Options: Paddle, Pedal or Power? Which is Best for You?

In this video we discuss what kinds of kayak propulsion types are currently available on the market and what you should consider before deciding which propulsion type is best for you.

Why Kayak Size Matters: What to Consider When Purchasing a Kayak

Why Kayak Size Matters: What to Consider When Purchasing a Kayak

In this video we discuss what you should consider when deciding what size kayak you should purchase. Things like how you will store and transport your kayak as well as where you will be fishing the most are all important considerations.

Follow Your Dreams

Follow Your Dreams

Inspired by passion and Stanley, Thomas Allen talks about his dream to make a career working in the fishing industry. Dreams don't come true without being surrounded by people who not only see and understand your passion but consider your dream as their own and see the same endgame. The most important people in your life make your dreams a reality.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now