Another angler in California may have caught the largest spotted bass on record. Late last week Siebert Outdoors released a story from Wes Roberts, who claimed to have caught an 11-pound spotted bass back on December 27. What had started off as a uneventful fishing trip soon turned into a desperate search for a certified scale, a dead iPhone, and a wildlife warden who went above the call of duty to drive four hours to measure a fish.
The strangest part? That wildlife warden was Tim Little, the current world record holder for spotted bass.
“There was no epic battle with climatic finish. There was no bravado, no yelling or touchdown celebrations,” Roberts wrote to Siebert. “This is a story about two knuckle heads doing voice impersonations while swinging 1lb spots into each other.”
Roberts was fishing with his tournament partner on an unnamed lake, musing about fellow angler Paul Baily’s own potential record spotted bass from last November, when he hooked the possible record fish.
“At that point I mentally kind just checked out. I mean I was full on sitting in the old-man chair, sandwich in one hand jig rod in the other dragging a jig on the back deck,” he wrote.
“I make a cast and I get bit right away. My drag slips and I boat another dink. I remember that was odd and realized I had not adjusted my drag since my last trip in November. I adjust the drag and make the same cast,” Roberts recalled. “This time my sandwich is in my mouth, water bottle in between my legs and I get bit. Again my drag slips and now I am like ‘great, my reel is jack.’ I quickly reel up the line and see the color of the fish. I tell John get the net. She made one dive and with four full turns of my reel she was in the net.”
Like Roberts said earlier, the catch itself was unremarkable, but what followed after was. The two anglers weigh the fish and put it in the boat’s livewell, but shortly afterwards became concerned about its well-being. Roberts knew all too well that Baily, who caught a 11-pound, 4-ounce bass last November, released his fish because he was unable to find a certified scale and was unwilling to kill it for just a record. After calling friends and the Department of Fish and Wildlife, it seems that Roberts was also running into the same problem.
Then he got the idea to call Little, who he had only met twice before. It was a tough call, especially when it comes to asking a man to drive fours away on his day off to break his own world record. Roberts was surprised when the other man agreed.
“So here we are unprepared on all fronts, in the dark and the temp is dropping into the thirties when we finally see headlight coming down the hill towards the ramp. At this time it had been 4 hours since he left his house. Tim gets out of his car and walks me through everything I needed to do. It as at that point I realized exactly how out of his way he came,” Roberts wrote.
“I literally had to say it out loud to him and John for it to set in, for me to realize exactly what a stand up guy he is,” he added.
Roberts claimed the fish measured 11-pounds even on Little’s certified scale, beating the warden’s own record 10.38-pound bass from last January. The Department of Fish and Wildlife have yet to confirm the record, but Roberts says it is pending.
“I will never forget that day and I am ever grateful for what everyone did to helped my very unprepared self. California has some amazing fisheries and I am confident the record will be broken again,” Roberts wrote.
The bass was caught on a 3/4 oz football jig from Siebert Outdoors. It was released safely.