Frank Evans and his cousin were out on Milford Lake Easter Sunday killing time. Evans' cousin was visiting from Louisiana and had never seen a smallmouth, so Evans decided he'd see if the pair could scare up a brown fish or two.
"He was visiting his son who is stationed in Fort Riley, and we were bored and talking about fishing. I figured we'd just hook up to the old boat and head down to Milford," Evans said. "We got along the dam and it took about 15 minutes of fishing when I hooked her."
Evans was using 6-pound-test Stren line and recalls an epic battle.
"I was throwing an Albino Zoom Super Fluke Jr. in about 20 feet of water. When she hit, I knew it was a good fish, but I didn't know just how big she was until she came up the first time," Evans said. "When she saw the boat she dove and I thought I was going to lose her. I had to start bailing out line with my hand to keep from breaking her off when she would run. It was exciting. I hollered at my cousin to get the net and he grabbed the smallest one in the boat, and I didn't think she'd fit! But, we did get her in."
After the fish was boated in Evans' mini-net, he put the fish on a hand scale and it read 6-14. Clearly a state record. Evans knew the previous state record was a tad north of six pounds. He decided it was time to go get an official weight because handheld scales aren't even in the vicinity of official for recordkeeping purposes.
"I called my mom's husband, and he looked up the record on the Internet, and it was 6.68, and the guy who caught it lives down the road from me," Evans said. "It's crazy how two people from the same town caught the state record when there are people from all over fishing Milford."
Evans found a game warden who referred him to a marina that has official scales. However, the scales there were on a floating dock, a no-no for official purposes.
"After that I had to load the fish back up, load the boat up and drag her to a town that was about 45 minutes away," Evans recalls. "The guy opened the store and we weighed her again, and she went 6.88. Then I had to come all the way back to Milford so the warden could verify her."
Evans' 21 1/2-inch fish was officially certified as the new state record on May 4, 2010.
"It's kind of overwhelming. I've got people e-mailing me from all over wanting to mount it. It's neat in a way," Evans said. "For a guy like me who's been fishing hard all his life to have a state record, it's really special."