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 Hoosier Catches Record Yellow Bass

By Phil Junker

Jim Raymer was fishing in Morse Reservoir north of Indianapolis for crappie. He and his long-time fishing partner, Rick Priebe had marked a number of fish at several locations with their fish locator. They headed back to the first school of fish they had marked, and Raymer started jigging for crappie. He quickly had a fish on. I thought I had a good crappie, but when I landed it, I thought it was a big yellow bass, said the Greenfield angler. But, Raymer also knew he had never seen one as big as the fish he landed. The fish he boated is a new Indiana state record, and also should be a world record. The fish weighed 2.95 pounds on the certified scales at the Marsh grocery in Greenfield. Raymerıs fish topped the old state record of two pounds, four ounces, caught in 1977 by another Hoosier, Donald Stalker, who took his fish at Monroe Reservoir, near Bloomington. Stalker also owned the world record until early this year, when angler caught one that weighed two pounds, eight ounces. 

After catching the fish on Saturday, Nov. 4, he kept the fish alive over the weekend, and decided to take it to the DNR office at Martinsville for positive identification. When he (Raymer) called and said he had a big yellow bass that weighed nearly three pounds, I thought it probably was a hybrid striper, said DNR biologist Doug Keller. ³But, after I checked the fish scale, there was no doubt it was a yellow bass. Based on the scale sample, the fish appeared to be five and a half years old, and he said it had displayed rapid growth. A similar size white bass would be about seven years old, said Keller. The fish was 16.7 inches long and had a girth of 12.7 inches.

It looked like a football with a small head,  said Raymer. It seems yellow bass hang around the same structure as crappie, and Iıve caught a lot of them. But this one was so big, it just seemed to be disproportionate. I thought it was a yellow bass. It really looked yellow, and I wanted to make sure. Yellow bass are considered a nuisance by most anglers, because the fish usually are so small. Keller said a 10-inch yellow bass is a  big one. I've heard people say they are fine to eat. I donıt know why they wouldnıt be just like a largemouth. They just don't get much size, added Keller. Raymer agrees they are good eating. One time we were fishing at Kentucky Lake and the crappie weren't hitting, but we really got into a lot of yellow bass on a flat. They weighed about a half pound each. We filleted them, and they were almost as good eating as crappie, he said. He caught his record bass on a 1/16th ounce Mizmo orange and chartreuse jig. He had sprayed the jig with Kodiak fish scent, which he utilizes for crappie fishing, and was using a Sam Heaton signature B&M crappie rod. 

These things become of interest when you catch a world record fish. He received word on Monday that the Indiana DNR has recognized his fish as a state record, and he has contacted the International Gamefish Association, and the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame for forms to submit his catch for world record recognition. Raymerıs record fish in his home freezer and waiting to be mounted. The DNR has asked to borrow it for display at next yearıs state fair,² he said. Raymer and Priebe, who lives in Morristown, have been fishing buddies for years, and have fished the Crappie USA tournament circuit the past six years. They won the crappie tournament at Patoka Lake this spring. 

News Release From IDNR

Jim Raymer of Greenfield, Ind. knew he probably had a state record fish as soon as he pulled the big yellow bass from Morse Reservoir. But Raymer's fish not only clobbered the existing Indiana yellow bass size record, his catch also apparently shatters the existing 2-pound, 9-ounce world record. 

On Nov. 4, Raymer hauled in a 2-pound, 15-ounce yellow bass while fishing for crappie at Morse Reservoir in Hamilton County. His catch measured 16.7-inches long and had a 12.7-inch girth. The fish bested the past state record by 11-ounces.

Raymer was using an ultra-light spinning reel and rod with an artificial crappie tube bait. Raymer has 25 years of fishing experience and had previously caught yellow bass that weighed in the half-pound range. As soon as he realized what he had caught, he said to his fishing buddy, "I think this might be a record fish."

Raymer took his fish to the Greenfield Marsh grocery store where store employee Shannon Campbell weighed it for him on a state-certified scale. The scale required a product code before it would show the weight and print a receipt, so Cambell entered bananas to match the color of the yellow bass. The fish should be worth considerably more in bragging rights than the $1.74 banana price tag printed out on his receipt. Raymer then took the fish to Cikana State Fish Hatchery in Martinsville, Ind., where fisheries biologist Doug Keller verified the fish species.

The current International Game Fish Association all-tackle sport fishing world record yellow bass is a 2-pound, 9-ounce Duck River fish caught near Waverly, Tenn. Most yellow bass weigh mere ounces, but these scrappy little fighters are abundant in some waters and can provide hours of excitement on ultralight tackle. For many years, a 2-pound, 4-ounce Monroe Lake specimen was the world's largest officially documented yellow bass.

Yellow bass (Morone mississippiensis) are true bass, related to white and striped bass. Yellow, white, and striped bass and white/striper hybrids (wipers) are easily confused. White bass have one patch of teeth on their tongue, while striped bass have two distinct patches of glossohyal teeth. Hybrids have two patches that are joined and yellow bass have no teeth patches on their tongue.

Downloadable, printable photos are available on line at: http://www.ai.org/dnr/fishwild/gallery/bass.htm 

Jim Dicken


Copyright 2000 
Reprinted with permission

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