Between a Hawg and a Hard Place

I received an email from Dean Brown (UpDownBass.com) telling me about a monster LMB, potentially a state record, caught in Tennessee by Lance Walker, CEO of Browning Eyewear. The email contained an amazing photo of an amazing fish, but more impressive was the amazing story behind both, which goes something like this: Walker was crappie fishing with fellow angler Ray Rittenhour when local rains muddied the water and ruined the crappie fishing. With a few hours left to go, they decided to change tactics and chase bass along the shallow gravel bars.

At first, Walker thought he’d hooked onto a large striper or catfish, but when he saw the LMB emerge, he knew he had a once-in-a-lifetime fish.  A few phone calls confirmed that he had a fish that could potentially beat the state record (a 14 pound, 8 ounces bass caught in 1954).

Walker raced to the ramp and with the help of park rangers found a scale and weighed the fish. It weighed in at 14.58 half pounds, just over the state record. But a follow up call to a state biologist presented Walker with a heartbreaking dilemma. In order to certify the catch, they would need “blood samples, certified scales, 2 witnesses, dorsal fin clippings, and more to document the catch.” Walker realized that certifying the fish would likely mean killing it, so the two anglers talked about it and decided to release the fish without certifying it. Probably not an easy decision, but one they felt was the right thing to do. They did measure the bass before returning her to the water, and she measured 27 1/8 inches with a girth of 24 inches, which puts the bass at somewhere between 14.5 to 15.7 pounds.

Lance Walker’s name may not make it into the record books, but he’s a hero none-the-less and deserves to be Photo of the Day.  (Photo courtesy of Lance Walker)

Note: To read the entire post sent to me, click here.

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