Friday, January 27th, 2023
Friday, January 27th, 2023

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Young angler nabs new rock bass record in Port Bay

By Chris Kenyon 

Contributing Writer


Huron, N.Y. — “Got a big one,” young Jason Leusch yelled from the dock at Port Bay. Both his father and mother were spending the spring day working outside their cottage on this Lake Ontario embayment of Wayne County as they heard their son shout. The 8-year-old angler had already caught about 20 rock bass, so his parents were rather slow announcing that they “would be there in a minute.”


Jason Leusch, 8, of Webster, holds the record-book rock bass he caught in Lake Ontario on May 24. It eclipsed the previous record from 1984 by one ounce. (Photo provided)

It was Saturday morning, May 24, at 10:25 a.m., and after a five-minute fight the rock bass finally was hauled on the dock and yes, Jason was right: it was a “big one.” Big enough to become the new state-record rock bass.


“Holy crow, we have to weigh that one,” Mike Leusch, Jason’s dad, told his son after seeing the fish. 


“We knew that the record rock bass for New York State was 1 pound, 15 ounces, caught in 1984. I grabbed my digital scale and the fish was 2.02,” Mike Leusch said. 


Father and son took the rock bass to the Bay Bridge Sport Shop at the south end of Sodus Bay and it registered 2.0 pounds on their scale.


“We had a friend from Webster print the registration form and they brought it to Port Bay,” the elder Leusch said.


Next-up was to contact the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and have them certify the catch. 


Fishery biologist Pete Ousterman from the Region 8 Office in Avon verified the rock bass, and 8-year-old Jason Leusch is now a young angler in the official record book.


The family lives in Webster, and the second grader attends Plank North Elementary School. 


When asked what equipment he used to catch the rock bass, Jason proudly said “I was using my five-foot ultra-light with 10-pound braided line. I was fishing with fathead minnows.”


Jason’s dad added that the setup used was a No. 4 hook, 10 inches above a sinker. 


“My rod was a KastKing, but I just broke it,” Jason said. “The hook was caught on the bottom and I yanked it too hard. The rod broke.”


He will probably have to purchase a new ultra-light before casting off his dock again. 


“What record fish are you going for now?” he was asked. Without hesitation he announced, “it will be a bluegill.”

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