Big bass season starts with two 14-pounders

Two anglers recently made the state’s top 20 largemouth bass
list when they reeled in bass tipping the scales at over 14
pounds.

Tim O’Connor of Oklahoma City landed his 14-lb., 1-oz. bass Feb.
28 from a private pond in Pottawatomie County. He was using a jig
and craw setup, and he released the fish. O’Connor said he has
caught other nice fish in private ponds this year as well. The big
bass lands a number eight spot on the state’s top 20 largemouth
bass list.

A week later, on March 7, angler Jeremiah Johnson of Bristow
landed a 14-lb., 5.9-oz. bass from Wetumka Lake for a number four
spot on the top 20 list. His seven-foot Berkley rod was rigged with
a red seven-inch Zellmander Carolina rig. The fish was 24 ¼ inches
long and had a 21-inch girth. The live fish was turned over to Bass
Pro Shops in Broken Arrow for display.

Though it may be rare to see two 14-pound bass caught in a
week’s time, it’s not unusual for big bass to be caught this time
of year in Oklahoma. A glance through the list of Oklahoma’s top 20
largemouth bass reveals 17 fish caught in the months of February,
March and April. Eight of those fish have been caught since
2001.

Johnson’s fish also will go down as a Wetumka Lake record
through the Wildlife Department’s Lake Record Fish Program.
Sportsmen can search lake record fish information, including the
sizes of fish caught and what tackle was used to catch them,
through a user-friendly search feature on the Wildlife Department’s
Web site at wildlifedepartment.com.

According to fisheries biologists with the Oklahoma Department
of Wildlife Conservation, now through the next month is a great
time to be fishing for not only big bass, but also for high numbers
of bass as water temperatures warm and as spawning season
approaches.

A number of good live and artificial bait choices are available
including plastic worms, surface lures and assortments of jigs as
well as live minnows and even worms.

“Anybody can catch a nice bass in Oklahoma,” said Gene
Gilliland, central region fisheries supervisor for the Wildlife
Department. “The key is to be out there fishing, because you sure
won’t catch any while inside.”

To fish in Oklahoma, anglers must have a state fishing license
and a fishing and hunting legacy permit, unless exempt. Some
municipalities and lakes also require anglers to carry special
permits. Consult the current “Oklahoma Fishing Guide” for more
information.

To see Oklahoma’s Top 20 Largemouth Bass list, log on to
http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/top20.htm

To access the Wildlife Department’s lake record fish search
feature or for more information about bass fishing in Oklahoma, log
on to wildlifedepartment.com.

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