WHAT A BEAUTY — Local angler Tom Marks caught a 15.61-pound largemouth bass, during a visit to Port Charlotte, Fla. He later released the fish.
FLORIDA — Local Lake Erie charter captain Tom Marks said, “You’ll never believe this! I just caught the biggest bass of my life – and I caught it in small pond!”
Erie County resident Marks had been on a trip to Florida, when he reeled in the largemouth.
“In the past, I have fished this pond, every day, for a month, and only would get one or two bites, but they would be good fish,” he said. “Several years ago, I caught a 10-pound bass from it, but I decided this trip, I wouldn’t fish the pond much, because it didn’t really have good numbers of fish.”
A tournament fishing professional, as well as a Florida fishing guide, during the winter months, Marks uses three rods, for fishing Florida ponds. His equipment is rigged with a spinnerbait, a Texas-rigged Zoom worm and a lipless Strike King redeye shad.
Marks explained, “Last Friday, I fished the redeye shad first. I was fishing the lure fast, trying to get a reaction strike. I got one of those ‘bumps’ from a fish, but it was not a bite.”
The angler switched over to the worm rod, next. “He hit. It was a big fish, but the way it fought, I thought I might have a catfish, so I was horsing it in,” he said. “When the fish jumped, it was a huge bass. But, my hook came flying out of its mouth. It was a heartbreaker, to lose that huge bass. I figured I would try again, but I would rest the pond for a few days, first.”
On the following Monday, Marks made a trip over to Lake Okeechobee to bass fish. The angler reported that he experienced a very windy day, hours after a line of storms passed over the lake.
“So, I quit early and headed back to home,” he said. “I got there with enough time to try the pond. I started out again, using the Redeye Shad, and fished it fast as I did on Friday. I figured the bass was agitated by the lure, but not enough to really eat it. I got the bump and quickly switched to the worm rod.
“On the first cast, I got a bump. On the second cast, the bite was so hard, it actually hurt my wrist. The fight was on! [After] stripping line off the reel and several leaps, I could see it was hooked good. When I got it to the shore and gripped the fish’s lower jaw, I could not believe it. It was huge!”
The fish ended up being a 15.61-pound largemouth bass. Marks later released the fish, to swim another day.
“Here I have been fishing Lake Okeechobee, a place where giants roam, but a little pond near Port Charlotte proved to be the home of a true giant,” the angler added, about his decision to let the fish be.