All-Time Top-25 Biggest FL Largemouth Bass

ALL-TIME TOP-25
BIGGEST / HEAVIEST
LARGEMOUTH BASS
EVER CAUGHT  (OR REPORTEDLY CAUGHT) IN FLORIDA
 

An Information, Opinion, Photos, & Sources Report

Compiled by Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca

With the assistance of Captain Erika Ritter, K. Alwine, & G.D. LeMaster

Photos by Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca, Captain Erika Ritter, K. Alwine, & G.D. LeMaster

 

Revised:  19 April 2014

 

NOTE:  Click-on individual photos to enlarge them!




BREAKING NEWS AS OF 18 APRIL 2014!

Today, Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca & Captain Erika Ritter had the great privilege of inspecting & measuring a huge, mounted LARGEMOUTH BASS that was reportedly caught by Mr. G.D. LeMaster back in March 1972 from Lake Weohyakapka (Lake Walk-in-the-Water) in Polk County, Florida. Our unofficial yardstick & tape measurements seem to indicate that this monstrous bass probably was somewhere between 32 & 35 inches long--which might lead to an estimated total weight when caught in 1972 of somewhere between 20 & 24 pounds or so! Our future hope is to get the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission or the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame involved in attempting to officially measure the length of this Florida-caught fish as it may be of World Record (length) size for a LARGEMOUTH BASS. We are hoping to have more details in the weeks & months ahead about this extremely large bass, including a written statement from Mr. G.D. LeMaster reporting any historical information known about his magnificent catch from 1972. Stay tuned!

https://sites.google.com/site/ocklawahamanpaulnoscareports/huge-florida-largemouth-bass-caught-by-lemaster-in-1972-could-it-be-a-state-or-world-record



 

 

LARGEMOUTH BASS: TERMINOLOGY OF THE BIGGEST FLORIDA CATCHES

 

UNDOCUMENTED indicates big, heavy largemouth bass reportedly caught in Florida that are not recognized as being documented catches by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame (NFWFHF), Bassmaster magazine (BASS), & Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) or its predecessor Florida Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission (GFC). The overwhelming majority of heavyweight largemouth bass reported caught from Florida are undocumented as the process to officially document is very meticulous.

 

DOCUMENTED indicates big, heavy largemouth bass caught in Florida that are recognized as being documented catches by the IGFA, NFWFHF, BASS, & FWC or its predecessor GFC. The quite meticulous procedure to officially document requires documenting the weighing of the fish on a certified inspected scale in the presence of 2 disinterested witnesses plus measuring its length & girth along with an inspection to verify the species by a qualified person. Also a clear photo must be submitted plus in some instances the first 25 feet of the fishing line that was used & possibly even more required information.

 

NON-CERTIFIED indicates big, heavy largemouth bass caught in Florida that are recognized as being documented catches by the IGFA, NFWFHF, & BASS--but were never examined & weighed by personnel of FWC or its predecessor GFC.

 

CERTIFIED indicates big, heavy largemouth bass caught in Florida that are recognized as being documented catches by the IGFA, NFWFHF, & BASS--plus they were examined & weighed by personnel of the FWC or its predecessor GFC.

 

Other big bass documenting organizations of the past were the International Spin Fishing Association & of course Field & Stream magazine--both of which--in 1978 turned-over their official freshwater fish record-keeping duties to the IGFA. Field & Stream magazine's documentation of heavyweight catches dated back to 1911 when their annual fishing contests began.

 

 

LARGEMOUTH BASS: A FEW FACTS ABOUT THE BIGGEST FLORIDA CATCHES

 

In 1969, before the advent of overweight California-caught transplanted Florida-strain bass, Field & Stream reported that only 3 largemouth bass weighing over 19 pounds had ever been officially DOCUMENTED since record keeping began in 1911. Those 3 bass were: (1) 22 pounds 4 ounces by George Perry in 1932 from Montgomery Lake, Telfair County, Georgia; (2) 20 pounds 2 ounces by "Fritz" Friebel in 1923 from Big Fish Lake, Pasco County, Florida; & (3) 19 pounds 15 ounces by R.E. Lucas in 1927 from Keystone Lake, Hillsborough County, Florida. The 19-pound largemouth bass was caught by W.A. Witt in 1961 from Lake Tarpon, Pinellas County, Florida.

 

 Huge 21-lb 3-oz Ocklawaha River largemouth bass from 1975 that was never DOCUMENTED!

Ocala Star-Banner newspaper articles

 

Some big largemouth bass specimens caught over the years in Florida were LONG in inches of total length but LEAN in pounds & ounces of weight. The documented world record LONGEST largemouth bass ever caught anywhere was taken from Lake Toho in Florida by Bill Whipple on 8-11-2002 & was 33 inches in total length but weighed an amazingly light 14 lbs 6 oz! At least three bass were reportedly 32 inches long but only weighed 17 to 17.25 lbs each.

 

 

LARGEMOUTH BASS: THE LIST OF THE BIGGEST/HEAVIEST REPORTED FLORIDA CATCHES

Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca compiled the following list by carefully studying available data from various "offline" & "online" sources. It is the most complete historical listing of the all-time top-25 (or so) biggest or heaviest largemouth bass ever reportedly caught in Florida–that he knows of. This list includes any available reported catches whether undocumented, documented, non-certified or certified. Before numbers 1 to 30 is a section beginning with letters A to H of extremely big undocumented largemouth bass. The reported weights of all of these "lettered" bass exceed that of Florida's heaviest-ever documented record largemouth bass. Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca is ready to update this report whenever new or more accurate data is discovered about 17-pound & heavier largemouth bass reported caught in Florida (past or present)–or it is brought to his attention by others.
NOTE:  Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca has never caught a largemouth bass that qualifies to be included on this Top-25 (17-lb & over) list!

 

Abbreviations: lb = pound, oz = ounce, in = inch, L = length, G = girth, Co = county.

(No.) Reported Weight; Length (if known); Girth (if known); County (if known); Water (if known); Catch Date by Angler (Comment).

 

(A) 24-lb 12-oz; 39.5 in L; 30 in G: Osceola Co; West Lake Toho; 4-20-1974 by Raymond Tomer (GFC couldn’t certify weight).

(B) 23-lb 2-oz; 37.5 in L; 29.5 in G; Lake Co; "near Altoona"; circa 1880 by H.W. Ross (reported by Dr. J.A. Henshall in his 1881-1913 Book Of The Black Bass--16.5-inch girth head of this fish was sent to the office of Forest and Stream in New York which merged with Field & Stream in 1930).

(C) 22-lb; Volusia Co; "small lake near Pierson"; Dec 1981 by Billy Johnson (GFC couldn’t certify weight).

(D) 21-lb 8-oz, Alachua Co; Orange Lake; 1954 (reported by Breard Snellings in "Sarasota Journal" 3-26-1975: "...was not caught on rod and reel").

(E) 21-lb 3-oz; 38.25 in L; Marion Co; Ocklawaha River; 1-2-1975 by Thomas A. Johnson (GFC couldn’t certify weight, before it was eaten, although there is a good photo of this extremely long bass very much longer than a 21-inch height Ford pickup tailgate–"...there just wasn’t enough proof that the fish weighed more than the current [1975] 19 1/2-pound record [sic]").

(F) 20-lb 7-oz; Hamilton Co; "Occidental pit"; Apr 1993 by "Howard."

(G) 20-lb 5-oz; by unknown angler.

(H) 20-lb 4-oz; by unknown angler.

  

(1) 20-lb 2-oz; 31 in L; 27 in G; Pasco Co; Big Fish Lake; 5-19-1923 by Frederick "Fritz" Friebel (documented current non-certified Florida state record; 1923 Field & Stream annual fishing contest winner).

(2) 20-lb 1-oz; 29 in L; 23 in G; Indian River Co; Farm 13/Stick Marsh; 4-10-1994 by Ed Johnson.

(3) 19-lb 15-oz; Hillsborough Co; Keystone Lake; 1927 by R.E. Lucas (documented; 1927 Field & Stream fishing contest winner).

(4) 19-lb 12-oz; by unknown angler.

(5) 19-lb 11-oz; 29 in L; 23.25 in G; Indian River Co; Farm 13/Stick Marsh; 7-5-1994 by Doug Thompson.

(6) 19-lb 8-oz; 29 in L; 23 in G; Indian River Co; Farm 13/Stick Marsh; May 1994 by Ed Johnson.

(7) 19-lb 6-oz; by unknown angler.

(8) 19-lb 4-oz; Taylor Creek Reservoir; 6-30-1974 by Phil Jay (documented).

(9) 19-lb 2-oz; by unknown angler.

(10) 19-lb; Lake Co; Baccus Lake; mid-1970’s by unknown angler.

(10) 19-lb; 31 in L; Pinellas Co; Lake Tarpon; 6-21-1961 by W.A. Riley Witt (documented former non-certified Florida state record; 1961 Field & Stream annual fishing contest winner).

(11) 18-lb 15-oz; Pinellas Co; Lake Tarpon, 1961 by unknown angler.

(12) 18-lb 13-oz; 29.5 in L; 26.5 in G; Clay Co; St. Johns River; 4-12-1987 by Buddy Wright (documented).

(13) 18-lb 8-oz; Polk Co; Orange Grove Lake; Jan 2008 by Jeffrey Smith ("IGFA - 10 LB. BASS CLUB" list). http://myfwc.com/fishing/freshwater/black-bass/introduction/

(13) 18-lb 8-oz; Alachua Co; Newnan’s Lake; by Wayne Jacobs.

(13) 18-lb 8-oz; Leon Co; Lake Jackson; Mar 1967 by unknown angler.

(14) 18-lb 5-oz; Madison Co; 3-25-1968 by Bobbie Haskell (documented; 1968 Field & Stream annual fishing contest winner).

(15) 18-lb 4-oz; St. Johns River; 12-16-1948 by J.W. Smith (documented; 1948 Field & Stream annual fishing contest winner).

(16) 18-lb 2-oz; Marion Co; private pond; 1-14-1989 by Ted Lee.

(16) 18-lb 2-oz; Taylor Creek Reservoir; 6-25-1974 by Phil Jay (documented).

(16) 18-lb 2-oz; Clay Co; Lake Brooklyn; 3-12-1966 by Hugh Paul (documented; 1966 Field & Stream annual fishing contest winner).

(17) 18-lb 1-oz; Polk Co; Orange Grove Lake; by Jeffrey Smith ("IGFA - 10 LB. BASS CLUB" list).

(17) 18-lb 1-oz; Indian River Co; Farm 13/Stick Marsh; 4-4-1994 by Robert Bloom.

(17) 18-lb 1-oz; Indian River Co; Lake Blue Cypress; by unknown angler.

(18) 18-lb; Polk Co; Orange Grove Lake; by Steve Smith ("IGFA - 10 LB. BASS CLUB" list).

(18) 18-lb; 30 in L; 25 in G; Putnam Co; Tucker Lake (Big Pond); 1964 (prior to 20 August) by Lonnie Lee Petty (documented; 1964 Field & Stream annual fishing contest winner).

(18) 18-lb; Lake George (St. Johns River); 5-3-1958 by Marlin Coston.

(18) 18-lb; Putnam Co; Ashley Lake; 3-25-1951 by Carl Swisher (documented; 1951 Field & Stream annual fishing contest winner).

(18) 18-lb; Polk Co; Lake Marion; by Dave Hickman.

(18) 18-lb; Citrus Co; Homosassa River; by unknown angler.

(18) 18-lb; 32 in L; Withlacoochee River; by unknown angler.

(19) 17-lb 15-oz; Mar 1988 by Donald Brunson (documented).

(20) 17-lb 12-oz; Osceola Co; West Lake Toho; 7-11-1986 by John Faircloth (documented).

 
Ocklawahaman with "Big Scrub" largemouth bass 
 
(21) 17-lb 9-oz; Lake Co; 1972 by unknown angler.

(21) 17-lb 9-oz; Lake George (St. Johns River); by Babette Morgan.

(22) 17-lb 8-oz; 2007 by Butch Barnhart.

(22) 17-lb 8-oz; 2007 by Wesley Jennings.

(22) 17-lb 8-oz; 28 in L; 25 in G; Orange Co; Lake Rose; 2-17-1985 by Mike Paule (documented).

(22) 17-lb 8-oz; 28 in L; 25 in G; Okaloosa Co; Hurricane Lake; 3-19-1983 by Robert Earl Dunsford (documented).

(22) 17-lb 8-oz; Lake George (St. Johns River); by Justin Morgan.

(23) 17-lb 7-oz; Lake Co; "small sand mine pond"; by Bing McClellan.

(24) 17-lb 6-oz; Polk Co; Lake Winterset; by Jeffrey Smith ("IGFA - 10 LB. BASS CLUB" list).

(25) 17-lb 4-oz; Polk Co; Lake Summit; by Jeffrey Smith ("IGFA - 10 LB. BASS CLUB" list).

(25) 17-lb 4-oz; Orange Co; Raccoon Lake; 3-3-1992 by Linda Richardson (documented).

(25) 17-lb 4-oz; Walton Co; King(s) Lake; 1987 by unknown angler.

(25) 17-lb 4-oz; 30 in L; 22.5 in G; Polk Co; unnamed lake; 7-6-1986 by Billy O’Berry (documented current certified Florida state record).

(25) 17-lb 4-oz; 32 in L; Lake Co; Lake Schermerhorn (Schimmerhorn; Ocala NF); 3-10-1973 by Jack Walters (documented; 1973 Field & Stream annual fishing contest winner).

(25) 17-lb 4-oz; 29.7 in L; by Doug Hannon.

(25) 17-lb 4-oz; 32 in L; Lake Okeechobee; Feb 1971 by J.J. Shaw.

(25) 17-lb 4-oz; Alachua Co; Orange Lake; 1961 by R.W. Campbell.

(26) 17-lb 3-oz; near Winter Haven; by Jeffrey Smith ("IGFA - 10 LB. BASS CLUB" list).

(26) 17-lb 3-oz; Marion Co; Lake Weir; by unknown angler.

(27) 17-lb 2-oz; 29.75 in L; Lake Ocklawaha (Rodman Reservoir); 3-11-2000 by E.C. "Doodle Bug" Dressler.
(27) 17-lb 2-oz; "Lake Record in the Holmes Creek area"; 1988 by Randolph Field.
(27) 17-lb 2-oz; Marion Co; Silver Glen Run (Lake George, St. Johns River); 1971 by Justin Morgan.

(27) 17-lb 2-oz; by Carl Wagner.

(28) 17-lb 1-oz; near Winter Haven; by Jeffrey Smith ("IGFA - 10 LB. BASS CLUB" list).

(29) 17-lb; 2007 by Bernie Leff.

(29) 17-lb; Bay Co; Felix Lake (Tyndall AFB); by unknown angler.

(29) 17-lb; 37 in L; 1969 by Don Page.

(29) 17-lb; Withlacoochee River; Nov 1961 by Don Thweatt.

(29) 17-lb; Putnam Co; Crescent Lake (St. Johns River); by unknown angler.

(29) 17-lb; 32 in L; Marion Co; Half Moon Lake (Ocala NF); by unknown angler.

(29) 17-lb; Marion Co; Lake Bryant (Ocala NF); by unknown angler.
(30) 17-lb?; 29.5 in L; Marion Co; Ocklawaha River; Mar 1979 by R.L. Westbrook (winner of Ocala-Marion County 1979 "Big Bass Bonanza").
 
 
Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca maintains a matching list of the
"ALL-TIME TOP-25 BIGGEST/HEAVIEST LARGEMOUTH BASS EVER CAUGHT (OR REPORTEDLY CAUGHT) IN FLORIDA"
with source document links or hardcopy data included for almost all of these 17-lb & over Florida-reported catches.
 
INTERESTING READING: Examine the Florida (FL) listings of the "IGFA - 10 LB. BASS CLUB" at
 
 
 
REFERENCE AS:  Nosca, P. 2014. "All-time top-25 biggest / heaviest largemouth bass ever caught (or reportedly caught) in Florida" webpage report. "Ocklawahaman" website. Paul Nosca, Eureka, FL.
https://sites.google.com/site/ocklawahaman/all-time-top-25-biggest-fl-largemouth-bass
 
 
 
 
End.
Č
ĉ
ď
Paul Nosca,
Jul 30, 2013, 5:10 PM
Comments