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Back in '53 I named a bass Moses, the fish lived under Mel Blanks dock the right corner if standing on shore where first encountered this bass that spring. Moses was the biggest bass that I had ever seen, I didn't know anything about Moses or big bass at that time, the name just came to me.

I tried everything I knew to catch Moses without any luck. Moses was gone until the next spring of '54 and I Studied every movement hoping to catch this bass, agian like the year before Moses disappeared before I could catch him.

I didn't know Moses was a her until I caught the bass in '55 after reading everything I could about bass and taking the fish home to show everyone, then I felt bad after cleaning the fish full of eggs. Moses was about 7 lbs, my 1st big bass that started a lifetime pursuing giant bass and respecting every one of these special fish.

Happy New Years,

Tom

 

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I'd bet that a lot of us have kept a bass at some point in our fishing careers that we regret keeping. Catch-and-release wasn't a thing for a lot of anglers not long ago, myself included. I filleted 4 pounders just the same as a 12 incher, one I specifically remember was a 4lb smallmouth I'd caught while walleye fishing, which is huge for Kansas. Makes me sick to think of it now, but it was just food to me and my family then. 

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Great story. I've got a similar one involving my son.

 

There was a farm pond that my son and I used to fish and at one end was a dock where a bass we named "Big Hank" used to hang out. Yeah, I do know it was a female bass, but my son had the naming rights on this one. Anyway, we would see him there a lot but never could get him to bite. This pond had lots of bluegill and small bass that hung out around the dock so Big Hank was never wanting for a meal.

 

It must have been two or three years ago when my son was 10 or 11 when one day we were fishing on that dock and Big Hank grabbed my son Matt's lure. Now at that time Matt wasn't into fishing like he is now and he was using a 6 foot light Abu Garcia spinning combo with probably 6 or 8 pound mono spooled on it. At this point we couldn't see the fish, but Matt's rod was bent nearly in half. I've never seen a rod bend that much without snapping. It was definitely bigger than the dinks and panfish we had been catching. But his light tackle wasn't the only problem.

 

The dock had high railing all around meaning if he couldn't hang on to the fish while walking off the dock to the shore there was no way he was going to lift the fish over the railing. No problem - I'll grab the net. Only Matt left that net all the way on the other side of the pond with his tackle box. There's no way I can get there and back in time so I tell him to walk off the dock and guide the fish to the bank. He's so excited that I don't think he hears me.

 

At that time Big Hank comes to the surface and does a barrel roll. It was massive. Of course it's hard to tell exactly, but it had to be somewhere around 8 pounds. Matt is screaming about how big the fish is and asking what to do next. I'm telling him to try and move off of the dock and guide Big Hank to the shore. He then asks me to take the rod and help him, but this is his chance to land the big one. Just then Big Hank dives, shakes a few times, and is gone forever.

 

We were both devastated. We went back to that pond a few times but never saw Big Hank again. Since then the property has been sold and we have not contacted the new owners and asked to fish there. The good news is since that day he's become an avid bass fisherman, he's caught a handful of 5 pounders, and we've upgraded his equipment to include spinning gear and a baitcaster that can handle the next Big Hank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I grew up fishing southern Iowa farm ponds. 40 years ago keeping a 4 to 5 pound bass was expected. We caught fish to take home and eat. It wasn't much different than hunting small game. I was not introduced to catch and release until I started fishing tournaments, in my early twenties.

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11 hours ago, Russ E said:

I grew up fishing southern Iowa farm ponds. 40 years ago keeping a 4 to 5 pound bass was expected. We caught fish to take home and eat. It wasn't much different than hunting small game. I was not introduced to catch and release until I started fishing tournaments, in my early twenties.

Same for me.  Before it was a sport, we fished to put food on the table.

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12 hours ago, Russ E said:

I grew up fishing southern Iowa farm ponds. 40 years ago keeping a 4 to 5 pound bass was expected. We caught fish to take home and eat. It wasn't much different than hunting small game. I was not introduced to catch and release until I started fishing tournaments, in my early twenties.

 

1 hour ago, Bankbeater said:

Same for me.  Before it was a sport, we fished to put food on the table.

That's how I grew up in MA. I fished to put something on the table, whether it was trout, rock bass, or yellow perch as my mainstays. Largemouth of 2-3 lbs went home as they were the best tasting.

 

I still fish to put food on the table. Appropriate size of whatever species goes home and gets filleted.

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I kept my PB, ( at least her memory is still alive on my wall )and most of the other fish I caught I ate, until I started releasing all the bigger bass . I still keep a few smaller bass occasionally. 

 

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Long time ago I really wasn't a fish eater...tried eating a small bass from a clear Oregon pond I fished a lot and it tasted like mud to me...Tried eating some spots out of Shasta a friend cooked in later years and they were good but still for the most part had the "let em go....let em grow" mentality.  Now I did keep a number of salmon and steelhead out west and gave many away..to this I feel some guilt.  Should I ever have extra dough lying around a big smallie or LMB on the wall would be cool...but as I get older it's not as important.  BUT....getting out there chasing them is still amazing.

Good story Tom

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This is great story not just only killing big bass but pursuing to catch big bass as well.

I remembered the first time I killed a bass not big only 3lbs but that was hurt to my stomach.

I just really start catching numbers of bass the past 3 years. 1st year in canyon lake I studied and fish mostly  the north/small lake. 2nd year I studied mainly shore area in main lake and caught more fish. I hope to learn more area in main lake and move deeper. I’m not in a hurry since the lake is still new to me and many more areas for me to cover shallow and deep. One of this day I’ll follow your suit and pursue those giant bass.

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My dad has been a long time fisherman, and he would actually let small/mid-size bass go and keep the big ones. I also didn't know better until recently when I started to really get into angling as well. You can teach an old dog new tricks and he now let's the big ones go.

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If this thread keeps going it will be amazing as to how many of us have the same story. A fish(es) that changed your future and out look on bass fishing. No legal fish went to waste at home when I was young. I don’t eat fish now or even when I was young. I’ve tried it, just not into it. Walleye is the only thing I will eat and I have to be the one making it. 

 

I’ve trout fished since I was about 8 years old. Took it seriously at around 12. Was taught about trout fishing by a farmer I worked for as a kid. None of my folks know nothing about fishing. My brother could care less about it. I remember strolling in with a stringer of trout countless times and putting them in my moms kitchen sink. They loved them. Fifty years later it still exists. My clientele so to speak of are different people. I’ve never had a hard time finding a home for them. The other year I gave a gal I work with 83 of them. Her count. Sorry about the trout talk. 

 

I’ve been doing the catch and release thing for bass now for about 38 years if my math is correct. If I have a bass that doesn’t make it. I find it a home.  It doesn’t happen very often. I’d like to believe I handle bass as well as the so called best out there. I’m puzzled as to how it happens to a fish that isn’t foul or gut hooked. I hate to see that happen. It bothers me. I’m not gonna stop bass fishing over it. I just reflect on the moment and move on. I’m the same as most of us doing the bass thing. It keeps me going, not overly obsessed I think about bass day in and day out like you guys. It’s a healthy thing. Sorry for rambling. 

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I was around 10 years old or 21 years ago was the only time purposely harvested a bass.

 

A white mister twister grub would put the beat down on the bass in a neighbors farm pond.  A few hooks and a pack of grubs was all that was needed to consistently catch fish.  For some reason my brother and I were told we could harvest what we caught one day.  Not grasping the amount of fish we were keeping we soon had a bucket full of bass between 15" and 22" for a fish fry (17 total fish if I recall).

 

That harvest and a drought having the pond level lowered the next two years made that 3 acre pond never fish the same again.  It also help direct me down the fisheries carrier path later in life. 

 

I don't particularly enjoy the taste of any species of fish, a steak is much tastier.  So for myself...fish are friends, not food.

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On 1/1/2019 at 12:42 AM, WRB said:

Back in '53 I named a bass Moses, the fish lived under Mel Blanks dock

So here is a riddle for you.  What do you say as you approach Mel Blanc's dock?

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I have a similar story.  I ate around a 6 lb. bass I caught on a night crawler off my family's dock.  I was sick to my stomach after eating it, and it tasted gross - nothing like the delicious panfish, bullhead, walleye, pike, and trout I was used to.  I generally switched to catch and release for bass, and released most other species as well.  I will admit, I keep walleye when I catch a legal size.  It's pretty rare that happens. 

 

Thanks for sharing that story.  You were way ahead of your time, catch and release in the 50s was not common.

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1 hour ago, Tennessee Boy said:

So here is a riddle for you.  What do you say as you approach Mel Blanc's dock?

Should be Mel Blanc , man of a 1000 voices. All I ever heard was keep off my dock.

Tom

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9 minutes ago, WRB said:

All I ever heard was keep off my dock.

🤣🤣

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33 minutes ago, WRB said:

Should be Mel Blanc , man of a 1000 voices. All I ever heard was keep off my dock.

Tom

Okay,  I can't believe I didn't have any takers on this.  I guess you have to be at least 45 to even know who Mel Blanc is but here's the answer you've all been waiting for.

 

What do you say as you approach Mel Blanc's dock?

 

Answer (in your best Buggs Bunny voice):  Ehh, What's up dock? 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Tennessee Boy said:

Okay,  I can't believe I didn't have any takers on this.  I guess you have to be at least 45 to even know who Mel Blanc is but here's the answer you've all been waiting for.

 

What do you say as you approach Mel Blanc's dock?

 

Answer (in your best Buggs Bunny voice):  Ehh, What's up dock? 

 

 

 

Zing! 😂

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10 hours ago, Oregon Native said:

Should I ever have extra dough lying around a big smallie or LMB on the wall would be cool.

Replica fish are the way to go now, I believe.  Take pics and measurements and a nice replica can be made. I could be wrong, but I think most "real mounts" are painted anyway.  So a replica will be as good and you can keep the warm feeling that comes from releasing that special fish.

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The summer of my 19th or 20th birthday is when I decided to try bass fishing. There is a little half acre pond where I lived out in the boonies (town with a population of 200). I read and read about this sport and a younger a very confused me went out there with a spinnerbait. I casted and casted, but no fish (also surprisingly I picked up baitcasting almost immediately and with ease). As I was about to call it quits, I was bringing my spinnerbait back in (I was standing by a very weedy shore - cattails, extending 5 or 6 feet out into the water). My spinnerbait got a little hung up coming back in, rode up a cattail, and then splashed back down into the water. Almost immediately upon impact what I now know to be a 3 pounder (it was a monster to me back then) demolished it. It was at that moment that I became fascinated and obsessed with bass and fishing. The LMB was much paler than normal and had a unique mark on its side. A few weeks later I walked up to the pond to see that someone else had recently caught my bass and left it to die or killed it or something, although the corpse (?) had no injuries to it. Laying next to it was a Busch Light can. Sticking out of its mouth was 3/4 of a cigarette. Apparently someone thought that was funny. Broke my heart to see my bass like that.

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My parents live on a 11 acre lake and one bass has become a friend of mine. I’ve caught her probably a dozen times. The first time she was around 4 pounds. Last year she was just shy of 8. She has spawned under the same Cyprus tree every year since about 2007. And craw baits really tick her off!! She’s an old girl now and each year I expect her to have not made it through the winter

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14 hours ago, MickD said:

Replica fish are the way to go now, I believe.  Take pics and measurements and a nice replica can be made. I could be wrong, but I think most "real mounts" are painted anyway.  So a replica will be as good and you can keep the warm feeling that comes from releasing that special fish.

Agree...should of have said replica.....my bad

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