Originally posted by: MRCX1 on 9/13/2006 10:52:54 AM
Kennewick angler lands likely state record smallmouth bass
Published Monday, September 11th, 2006 Tri-City Herald
By Anna King, Herald staff writer
Austin Kenyon says he has dropped his bait into the deep holes of the Yakima River many times, but on Saturday of Labor Day weekend he hauled out what appears to be a record smallmouth bass.
The 22-year-old Kennewick man said he was startled after he set the hook, the fish leaped into the air and showed itself.
"I thought I had a carp on until it jumped 2-to-3 feet in the air," he said.
Kenyon landed the beamoth without a sparkly bass boat or any special tackle. He caught the 9-pound, 32-ounce fish with a 8-pound test line, a jig-like worm and a bass rod from the shore on the lower Yakima River. The fish measures 22 inches long.
If confirmed, the fish would usurp the previous Washington record for a Micropterus dolomieui set in 1966 for a 8.75-pound bass caught on the Columbia River's Hanford Reach by Ray Wonacott.
Officials from the State Department of Fish and Wildlife officials examined Kenyon's fish, took scale samples and weighed it on a certified scale last weekend. Kenyon said he is still waiting for his certificate and for his record to be posted on the state's Web site.
State wildlife officials couldn't be reached on Sunday.
Kenyon said he had to battle the burly fish for nearly 30 minutes before he landed it.
Each time he reeled the fish in near shore, it would surge back out to deep water, he said.
"It just took my line," he said, slightly breathless from retelling his story. "We fought and fought."
Finally, when Kenyon got the fish near shore, he waded in among the weeds and caught the bass by hand, because he had no net.
"The hook was only an eight-of-an-inch in his mouth," he said, "It was luck that I reeled it in -- it was just meant to be."
Once he got the fish ashore he realized how truly large the fish was.
"My jaw dropped," he said. "I knew that it was an amazing thing. I had to go see if it was a record breaker."
Kenyon took the fish home and put it in the freezer, then returned to his lucky spot to fish through the night.
"I was so excited that I spent the night out there and I caught a 12-pound catfish," he said.
Kenyon was only slightly sad that he killed the "humungously fat," bass.
The fish is set to be mounted courtesy of Sportsmen's Warehouse in Kennewick.
"It's the state record. I have to mount him," he said. "It's OK, he lived a good life."
Kenyon said he's been fishing in the Mid-Columbia since he was about 7 years old. He goes to the river frequently to unwind from stress, he said.
Kenyon's friends have now taken to calling him the "bass assassin." But the Kennewick man doesn't appear to mind, he's totally focused on his next cast.
"I am going to get into the tournaments and start working on the largemouth (bass) record," he said. "I want to get big time into catching bass."
* Reporter Anna King can be reached at 582-1537 or via e-mail at email@example.com.