- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bass anglers across the United States (and in a few foreign countries) are abuzz about a possible world record largemouth bass that was caught Monday in Southern California’s Dixon Lake in Escondido.

If accepted by the official record keepers, the International Game Fish Association, Mac Weakley’s 25.1-pound bass would be the new mark, eclipsing the 221/4-pounder that has been the bass to beat since George Perry caught it in Montgomery Lake, Ga., 74 years ago.

Weakley’s bass could be the stuff dreams are made of. Without question, the catch can be turned into a $1 million windfall as Weakley collects various cash awards, parlays offers from any number of tackle companies and makes personal appearances to show off his bass.

But that’s where a hitch develops. Weakley no longer has the bass. After weighing it on a hand-held scale with witnesses all around him, he let it go.

Weakley, 32, of Carlsbad, Calif., used a white jig with a skirt and rattle on 15-pound line to boat the brute. However, it is not yet known whether the IGFA will agree the catch was made in a sporting manner because Weakley foul-hooked the spawning female bass on the side of the body, just behind the pectoral fin.

Weakley, who makes a good living working for an Oceanside, Calif., casino, plans to submit his catch for verification by the IGFA along with photos, video and the scale. Would he be disappointed if the IGFA disallowed the application?

“Not at all,” he told ESPNoutdoors.com. “I feel I’m very blessed; everything I care about is family and friends. I really don’t care about money.”

Wow! What a guy.

One thing is certain: You will be inundated with magazine, TV and newspaper stories about this catch from now until the next huge bass is caught.

Fishing closer to home — Will the wind ever stop blowing? This has been a terrible month as far as uncooperative wind conditions are concerned, but local Potomac River bass guides find their fish along channel and marsh ledges with plastic grubs, 4-inch red or blue fleck worms, or smartly worked long-lipped crankbaits. Andy Andrzejewski (301/932-1509) says he has done quite well on the bass but also on crappies found around marina docks and boat houses anywhere from the Wilson Bridge area down to the Mattawoman.

Anna for fine bass catches — Lake and river guide Teddy Carr (540/854-4271) says this is the right time of year to hook a big bass in his home waters, Lake Anna, west of Fredericksburg. The bass can be found in deep or medium depth water, looking at slow-rolled spinnerbaits, pig-n-jig combos, deep crankbaits, grubs and dropshot rigs displaying short finesse worms. Stripers are moving uplake now to Stubbs and Holiday bridges, and if a school erupts on the surface during a feeding spree, a lipless rattle bait will be attacked.

First shad are caught — Up the Chesapeake, in the Maryland portion of the Susquehanna River and inside the mouth of the Deer Creek tributary, hickory shad have made a showing. Many more will arrive shortly. In Virginia’s James River, meanwhile, shad have been showing up off and on for more than a week at the falls below Richmond. The same tidal river also plays host to a catfish tournament Saturday that offers scads of prizes. For details, call 804/458-5536. Blue catfish are hooked as you read this, including one that weighed in excess of 50 pounds.

Bass and crappie catches at Kerr — The feeder creeks of Buggs Island lake (Kerr Reservoir) show fine numbers of schooling crappies that love live minnows but also will take small white curly tailed grubs or chartreuse Roadrunner lures. Rat-L-Traps and similar lipless lures are responsible for fine bass catches in brushy waters.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]washingtontimes.com

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