(2.2) LARGEMOUTH BASS - The Biggest Largemouth Bass Ever Reportedly Caught From The Ocklawaha River, Florida


Biggest / Heaviest / Longest

Largemouth Bass

Ever Reportedly Caught

From the

Ocklawaha River, Florida

Photo from an Ocala Star-Banner newspaper article of an

Ocklawaha River largemouth bass (and its shadow) taken on January 2, 1975.

Please note that a Ford "5th generation" pickup truck tailgate measures 21 inches high

and a 10-pound Florida largemouth bass usually is 25 to 26 inches in total length.

An Information, Opinion, Photos, and Sources Report

Compiled by Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca

With the assistance of Captain Erika Ritter & K. Alwine

Article Originally Posted to Internet: 01 January 2011

Created: 30 July 2013

Last Revised: 08 October 2020

NOTE -- IF NEEDED: Right-click-on individual photos then "Open image in new tab" to ENLARGE them!

The biggest / heaviest / longest LARGEMOUTH BASS ever supposedly taken from the Ocklawaha River was reportedly 21 pounds 3 ounces in weight and measured beyond 32 inches in length. It was caught near Moss Bluff by Thomas A. Johnson of Ocklawaha, Florida on January 2, 1975. There is at least one photo from the Ocala Star-Banner newspaper, in 1975, of this extremely long bass which looks very much longer than the Ford "5th generation" pickup truck 21-inch height tailgate that also appears in the picture.

After being weighed at a nearby fish camp and photographed, this fish was eaten before the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission (FL GFC) was ever notified of its existence. With only the available photos of Johnson's catch and not the fish itself, FL GFC was never able to certify the WEIGHT of this bass as HEAVIER than the then recognized 19-pound state record--so this Ocklawaha River "giant" never became the new Florida certified record largemouth bass.


At the time of Mr. Thomas Johnson's 1975 catch,

the FL GFC was only aware

of these two biggest documented FLORIDA-caught Largemouth Bass records:

(1) 19 pounds 4 ounces in weight from Taylor Creek Reservoir (Orange and Osceola counties) on June 30, 1974 by Mr. Phil Jay ("International Spin Fishing Association" and "National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame" documented)



(2) 19 pounds 0 ounces in weight with a length of 31 inches from Lake Tarpon (Pinellas County) on June 21, 1961 by Mr. W.A. Riley Witt (Field & Stream magazine documented former non-certified Florida state record and 1961 Field & Stream magazine annual fishing contest winner)



Also at the time of Mr. Thomas Johnson's 1975 catch, the FL GFC was aware

that the accepted WORLD RECORD Largemouth Bass of 22 pounds 4 ounces in weight

with a length of 32.5 inches and a girth of 28.5 inches had been caught by Mr. George Perry on

June 2, 1932 from Lake Montgomery , Ocmulgee River, Telfair County in southern GEORGIA.


World records for largemouth bass are based upon the heaviest WEIGHT, so Mr. Thomas Johnson's reported 21 pound 3 ounce largemouth bass taken from the Ocklawaha River on January 2, 1975, even if it was confirmed, would still have not been the new World Record.

It probably would have earned Mr. Johnson very little back then in 1975 for a lot of hassle.


Mr. Johnson's bass, as reported, weighed more and was longer than any of the top-ten heaviest documented Florida-caught largemouth bass. Those ten also were never certified by the FL GFC or its successor Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FL FWC). It ranks among Florida's heaviest undocumented largemouth bass which were reportedly heavier than the current 1st place non-certified but documented 20-pound 2-ounce state record.


The Thomas A. Johnson January 2, 1975 fish is the heaviest and longest largemouth bass ever reportedly caught on rod and reel from the Ocklawaha or St. Johns River basins. This bass was supposedly taken at least 25 miles upstream on the Ocklawaha River from Eureka and would have hatched from its egg many years before the September 30, 1968 completion of Rodman Dam.


(a.k.a. Rodman Pool or Lake Ocklawaha),


Perhaps it may be conjectured that this huge LARGEMOUTH BASS could have survived for about 15 years within the safe refuge of the 5-mile long Silver River (a.k.a "Silver Springs Run")--which has been closed to all fishing by state law since 1929 (click next link)--while venturing out into the Ocklawaha River only occasionally as a "tackle buster" until it was legally caught near Moss Bluff during that relatively warm winter of 1974-75? http://archive.flsenate.gov/data/session/2002/Senate/bills/analysis/pdf/2002s0680.nr.pdf

Photocopy of two Ocala Star-Banner articles from 1975

The photograph is clearer in the original article at:


Go to page 10B (archived as page 18 of 56) far right column of 3/2/1975 Ocala Star-Banner.


Go to page 5B (archived as page 20 of 27) far left column of 3/27/1975 Ocala Star-Banner.

The photograph is clearer in the original article at:


Go to page 5B (archived as page 21 of 43) far left column of 10/17/1975 Ocala Star-Banner.


Pertinent Streamflow Gages Historical Data for January 2, 1975

This giant largemouth bass was reportedly caught from the Ocklawaha River

somewhere between these two USGS gaging sites.

"USGS 02238500 Ocklawaha River at Moss Bluff, FL" stage on 1/2/1975 was 35.34 feet above sea level (add "gage height" [35.34 feet] to "datum" [0.00 feet NGVD 1929]).


"USGS 02240000 Ocklawaha River near Conner, FL" stage on 1/2/1975 was 35.38 feet above sea level (add "gage height" [3.59 feet] to "datum" [31.79 feet NGVD 1929]).


REFERENCE AS: Nosca, P. 2020. "The biggest largemouth bass ever reportedly caught from the Ocklawaha River, Florida" webpage report. "Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca reports" website.


Email: ocklawahaman1@gmail.com