SALINA, Kan. — Jason Heis of the Salina Bassmasters has the karma for catching big bass in his club's tournaments. At last count, the tally was up to four trophy bass awards so far this year, with the latest coming to fruition as the new smallmouth state record.
Heis was fishing in a mid-August tournament held on Milford Lake when the lucky strike occurred at high noon. The fish weighed 6.69 pounds and measured 22 1/2 inches in length, with a girth of 15 5/8 inches. Ironically, the previous record, weighing 6.37 pounds, also came from Milford.
A 4-inch watermelon flake Wolf Tackle Trick Stick produced the catch. Heis had the soft plastic stickbait rigged on a 3/0 Gamakatsu offset wide gap hook tied to 10-pound-test Berkley Trilene Big Game monofilament line. A 6 1/2-foot medium action Shimano Compre rod and Shimano Stradic reel completed the record-smashing outfit.
Beyond that, here's the story — as told by the record holder:
"I was near the dam and throwing the lure from out in 25 feet of water up into about 2 or 3 feet of water. I'd let it fall and then twitch it to deeper water, allowing it to fall again all the way back to the boat."
He added that the fish came from relatively clear water and under sunny skies, with a 15-mph breeze blowing from the south.
The previous record had stood since April 1997, until the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks certified Heis' catch as the new frontrunner for Kansas.