Almost 36 years to the day, Arkansas’s largemouth bass state record has finally been broken. On Tuesday, Paul Crowder of Forrest City set the new record on Lake Dunn near Wynne. Crowder’s lunker weighed 16 pounds 5 ounces, breaking the old record by just a single ounce.
Aaron Mardis of Memphis had held the state record since March 2, 1976. Mardis’ 16 pound 4 ounce fish was caught on Mallard Lake near Manilla in Mississippi County.
Crowder broke the record on the afternoon of Feb. 28 using a plastic 6-inch Mann’s jelly worm with a bullet sinker and plastic rattle in tequila sunrise. He was using an Enigma rod and reel combo purchased from Bass Pro Shops. Crowder caught the fish on Trilene 14-pound test line. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Fisheries Biologist Lee Holt certified the fish on a certified scale at Hayes Market in Wynne.
The fish measured 26½ inches in length and was 22¾ inches in girth. Crowder said that he had been fishing all day for catfish without any luck. “I made a cast and set the rod down to take a look at my catfish rods when I noticed the rod was just about out of the boat,” he said. “I was able to grab it just before it went out of the boat,” he added. It was the only fish he caught all day.
It only took about eight minutes for Crowder to reel the record into the boat. “I didn’t have a net, so it took me five or six tries before I was able to lip it and get in the boat,” he explained. The 80-acre lake is located in Village Creek State Park in Cross County. The AGFC is going to test the fish to see what genetic strain of bass it is, according to Assistant Chief of Fisheries Chris Racey. “We are going to take samples to determine if the fish is a pure northern strain or if it has Florida bass genetics,” Racey explained.