Discover the Largest Largemouth Bass Ever Caught in California
The largemouth bass is, without a doubt, one of the most popular, hardy, widespread and generally impressive fish in the world! The Golden State proves to have a perfect climate and habitat for this unique fish, but what is the largest bass ever caught in California? How does California’s largest catch compare to the most massive specimen ever caught? Read on to learn more below!
An Introduction to the Incredible Largemouth Bass Largemouth bass is an incredible sport fish.
The scientific name of the largemouth bass is Micropterus salmoides, making it a member of the genus Micropterus. “Micropterus” basically translates to “small feather” or “small wing”. This refers to the rather small dorsal and pectoral fins of the species for their relatively large body size.
Species in the genus Micropterus share several key characteristics, namely their narrow, long bodies, their small fins supported by thin bony bars, and medium or medium-sized bodies compared to other freshwater species. They are also all native to North America and mostly live west of the Rocky Mountains. However, they have since been introduced to other parts of the world, such as Europe’s Iberian Peninsula and even parts of East Asia.
Fish within the genus Micropterus are also collectively known as black bass. A total of 13 species make up this group. They range in size from the redeye and smallmouth bass, which can be as small as 5 inches in length, to the largemouth bass, which can exceed 25 inches long and 20+ heavy pounds!
Although all species of black bass are popular game fish, the largemouth is generally considered the most impressive and difficult to catch. Because of its large size and strength compared to other black bass and its tough nature when caught, it is highly prized by most anglers.
A Brief History of Big Bass Fishing
Largemouth bass have a long and rich history among anglers around the world. Bass fishing as a hobby has existed in North America since the mid-1800s. While all black bass are famous for their “fight” when hooked, the largemouth has long been the most prized of all for due to its more muscular structure and large size.
Initially, the ideal method for catching species such as largemouth bass was fly fishing. As rail transportation became more developed throughout the United States in the late 1800s, it became easier to transport large quantities of live fish to stock them in freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds. . Because largemouth bass are so adaptable and able to thrive in a variety of climates, they are well suited to long-distance transport.
Over time, this unique species established itself in most of North America’s waterways. Entire towns were even built around “tank ponds” in the late 1800s and early 1900s. By the 1950s, the ideal technique for catching largemouth bass shifted from fly fishing to plastic lures manufactured in measure. These lures, typically shaped like worms, were most effective because they closely resembled the largemouth’s primary prey. A post-war fishing boom also occurred around this time, particularly around bass fishing.
By the 1960s, bass fishing had fully come into its own as a North American hobby. The large bass was gradually being introduced to other parts of the world. Catching methods were perfected due to bass fishing gear and products being marketed to anglers. In 1967, the first BASS Federation tournament was held, and the Bassmaster Classic followed in 1971.
Bass fishing remains an incredibly popular hobby – decades later, largemouth bass are still widely regarded as the most impressive catch of all black bass species.
How big do largemouth bass get?
A large bass is not only noticeable for its large mouth! It is also the largest of all 13 species of black bass. It is even the largest of all 38 species within the wider family Centrarchidae! Its average size tends to be about 12 to 15 inches long. It can technically grow up to 3 feet, although individuals of this incredible size are quite rare.
In addition to having a very long and large body, the largemouth bass also carries considerable weight. Generally, individuals grow to about 10 to 12 pounds by the time they reach adulthood. However, individuals over 20 pounds have also been recorded!
The species is also highly sexually dimorphic, meaning that female and male large bet are visually different from each other. In particular, females are larger than males, as their bodies must be larger, wider, and heavier overall to accommodate the laying of large numbers of eggs frequently. For this reason, catch-and-release fishing is ideal, as very large females often breed and contribute greatly to the survival of the species.
Because of its large, heavy body, high aggression when hooked, and impressive, almost majestic appearance, the largemouth bass is extremely popular among both novice and expert anglers. It is very accessible and widespread, but a challenging catch, with different sizes.
What is the largest bass ever caught in California? In California, the largest bass ever caught weighed over 21 pounds!
The largest bass ever caught in California was an impressive 21 pounds and 12 ounces! This record catch occurred on March 5, 1991. The specimen itself was caught by fisherman Michael Arujo, originally from Santa Monica, California. He caught the fish in Castaic Lake in southern California.
According to an LA Times interview conducted shortly after his capture, Arujo spotted the fish near the surface of the lake, likely a growing female preparing to spawn. He was able to catch and reel in the fish fairly quickly, within minutes of initially spotting it. After noticing the specimen’s considerable size, he drove back to the nearby town of Castaic and weighed the fish to validate his new record.
Amazingly, Arujo’s incredible catch also broke an 11-year-old state record! Prior to that, the largest bass ever caught in the Golden State was a 21-pound, 3-ounce individual caught at Lake Casitas in 1980. Angler Raymond Easley set the previous state record.
What is the largest bass ever caught?
While Michael Arujo’s 21kg catch is certainly impressive, it still doesn’t beat the world record holder. To date, the largest bass ever caught worldwide was a whopping 22 pounds and 4.97 ounces. But despite being native to North America, this particular specimen was caught in Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest freshwater lake. Biwa is also one of the oldest lakes in the world.
This world record catch was made by Japanese fisherman Manabu Kurita on July 2, 2009. Lake Biwa, north of Kyoto, is one of Japan’s most popular fishing spots. In addition to harboring impressive numbers of largemouth bass, other black bass and other popular game fish species have also established healthy populations within the area.
Today, largemouth bass is generally considered an invasive species in Japan. It was first introduced to East Asia around 1920. The hardy and adaptable nature of the largemouth bass allowed it to thrive in the area. While it is commonly fished for sport, it is not often eaten or sold for food, as it is noted to have a strange texture and extremely fishy taste.
Incredibly, Manabu Kurita’s catch managed to break a world record that stood for 77 years. Previously, the world record was held by angler George W. Perry, who caught a largemouth bass weighing 22 pounds, 4 ounces. In 1932, he caught the fish in Georgia’s Montgomery Lake. At that time, Perry was only 19 years old! Today, a historical marker stands near Montgomery Lake to commemorate the capture, although it has barely been surpassed since then.