Michigan’s sixth record fish for 2015 also happens to have broken one of the longest-standing records in the state. Last Sunday, Greg Gasiciel of Rhodes was bait-casting with a green grub when he hooked a 9.33-pound, 24.5-inch smallmouth bass from Hubbard Lake in Alcona County. Based on its weight, Gasiciel’s fish just nearly edged out a 109-year-old state record that was once thought to be unbeatable.
“Smallmouth bass is one of the most popular, most sought-after sportfish in North America. Even though the Michigan state record stood for more than 100 years, we’re excited to see the bar set even higher for those who set out to land this iconic fish,” Jim Dexter, Fisheries Chief for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said in a press release.
“This is additional evidence that Michigan truly has world-class bass fisheries,” Dexter added.
The previous record was set in 1906 when W.F. Shoemaker caught a 9.25-pound smallmouth from Long Lake in Cheboygan County. It had been one of the longest-standing state records for smallmouth bass in the country, perhaps even the oldest on the books.
Despite the popularity of smallmouth bass among anglers, the species tend to produce records that can last for decades. According to the International Game Fish Association, the current world record was caught by David Hayes in 1955. The massive 11-pound, 15-ounce fish was retrieved from Tennessee’s Dale Hollow Lake—but not without controversy. At one time the record was stricken from the books after a dockhand accused Hayes of tampering with the fish to make it appear heavier, and the angler was discredited by both his peers and record keepers. It was only after an investigation by Tennessee wildlife officials that found the dockhand’s testimony to be false was Hayes restored back to the record books, then at the age of 80.
Old records such as these hold a legendary status among anglers and breaking one is a monumental achievement. Will Gasiciel’s fish last for 109 years? Only time will tell.
Images courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources