Every fisherman gets excited about catching a big bass, even Bassmaster Elite Series anglers. And every big bass catch has as good story. Here are seven more big bass stories from the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament on Lake Guntersville.
Editor's note: Read Day 1 big bass stories.
Jamie Hartman, Day 4: 5 pounds, 14 ounces
“I had one little sweet spot I was throwing over. It was the hot spot. You know I call it the dynamite hole because every time, I was telling my camera man, watch out we're going in the hot hole right now, here's the catch.
“Every time I threw in there, man. I threw that in there and he hit it right where he was supposed to and it was about a 5-pounder. The whole fish came up and out of the water. I yanked the lure, but I barely pricked him. The lure came at me about 10 yards, and I turned to the camera "dang it!"
“As I did, I twitched it again and the 6-pounder ate it, creamed it right there. I had no idea. It wasn't the same fish either. I don't know. That's how things go down. When they're fired up like that. It was shallow water. When they're fired up. It's like the bait landed, and he creamed it. He choked it.”
Chris Zaldain Day 4: 5 pounds, 8 ounces
“I had literally 10 minutes to go. I had a 2:15 check in, and it was 2:05. I was 4.7 miles away from the takeoff, and it was 2:05. I literally had five minutes to fish.
“I just lost a 5-pounder on a worm. I picked up my spoon, threw out there. Jerk, jerk, I hook a big one. It came off. Two casts later, I hooked a big one. It came off. I changed the hook on my big spoon. I cast it out there. It's fluttering down, fluttering down. I pumped it once. There was a giant, and I know in the back of my head it's a brand new hook, so I had it tagged, and I just kept it reeling, kept it reeling, kept it reeling, and I flipped it off the back of the boat.
“It was a 5 1/2-pounder. It got rid of about a pound and a half fish. I get back up there and two casts later, I hook another one. Comes off. I get back, and I'm looking out there, and I've got one minute to go. I make another pump, another pump, and I hook another one, and it comes off. So there's my big fish story. It's surrounded by lost fish.”
Caleb Sumrall Day 4: 6 pounds
“I was fishing some floating mats that was kind of protected in the area. Actually, another competitor kind of came in and threw my rotation off of when I was going to hit certain mats at certain times, so I went and hit some other mats I had, some isolated mats.
“I went to 10 or 12 of them, and I hit all of them. I was about to leave that pocket, and I went and hit this one windblown mat. The last punch at this mat, she was just on there. I boat flipped her and the hook fell out of her face. It was a truly blessed bite, the biggest bite I've had all week. I think she'll go right at 6, maybe 6 1/4. It's a good one. And then the next 30 minutes I lose one about the same size. I'm going to probably lose sleep over that one for quite some time.”
Chad Pipkens Day 4: 5 pounds, 8 ounces
“It was one of those stretches of grass that I had fished each day. I just haven't caught a big one yet but I'm like, ‘I know they live there because I've seen them and I've caught them.’ I went back in the afternoon and started swimming a big worm through there, and it didn't even move.
“I just wound it and it felt like it was just hung and I kind of pulled back and it goes, ‘Urr! Urr!’ I set the hook. The rod was bent down on the handle. The fish jumped a couple times, and it was a good 5-, 5 1/2-pounder.”
Matt Herren Day 3: 5 pounds, 8 ounces
“My biggest fish came about an hour ago, and it actually made a big change in my attitude.
“It clued me in that they were still there. You know, I've been fighting a battle for two hours, it was real slow, and I was like, ‘Are they there? Are they gone? Are they there? Are they gone? Have I caught them all?’
“We all go through that, when you start putting pressure on it. Then I caught that fish and it made me settle down. I was like, ‘Yeah, they're still here.’ And then I turned around and caught two more good fish. They weren’t as big as that one, but I caught two more just by finally triggering a bite. That fish showed me there's still a lot of fish there. I'm gonna hack it out and play some cat and mouse with them tomorrow. Figure out how to make them bite.”
Kelly Jaye Day 3: 6 pounds, 4 ounces
“I went through that same area I went through yesterday (Day 2). It's a ditch with grass and some scattered hydrilla and field grass plants around it on the side and there's a ditch that runs through it. It's about 8-feet deep and those fish are just holding in that deeper water. I made one pass through and caught a bunch of small fish so I turned around and worked my way out and I said, ‘Well maybe they have moved towards the main channel.'
“I went out towards the main channel and my first cast I saw that fish when they hit it. It may have been a 6 1/4-pounder but I saw it hit it and I thought it was like an 8-pounder. I think I even said on camera, ‘I think that's an 8.’ When I got it in, it ended up being like a 6 1/4 or something.
“I went back towards the main channel and I caught the 4. I called it a 4 at the time. Looking at it, it may have been a little more than a 4 but anyway, I caught it and was going to land it like I do all of them and you know, grab it on the belly and bring it in. By the time I grabbed it on the belly, it jumped, turn and when it did, it got me hooked.
“I've been hooked before. I fish with jerkbait a lot and I've been hooked a lot and I pulled them out a lot, but I knew when I saw this one, I knew I wasn't going to be able to pull this one out. Hank Cherry was fishing close to me, and I called him over there to look at it and he looked at it and he said, ‘No, I ain't going to be able to pull that out.’ It was past the bend of the hook all the way to my thumb so there was no direction to pull it.
“So, we called Trip. He called 9-1-1 and got the emergency ambulance to come over here with a medic and when she came up I asked her, I said, "Do you have some Novocaine?" And she said, ‘No, you have to go to the emergency room for Novocaine.’ I said, ‘Well, lets get going to the emergency room.’
“I think I was only gone an hour and a half, maybe, you know, from the time I left and got back and they fixed it up. They gave me some antibiotics and some ibuprofen and stuff and I was back on the water fishing.”
Livesay Day 3: 5 pounds, 10 ounces
“I started the day in the grass, caught 18, 19, 20 pounds, I don't even know what I had in the first hour. They were like vipers. Found a group of them. It was awesome. I was pumped up. I knew I needed one more big one. I had the rest of the day to catch one more big one to probably make the Top 10 because I knew I was close to 20 pounds.
“I fished the grass and fished a bunch of new stuff, trying to expand. Nothing, nothing, nothing, little ones. Drove down the lake, tried to run my deep stuff. I didn't catch anything there the rest of the whole day, it didn't help me the whole day. I fished all my stuff, the whole day, nothing. Catch a 2-pounder, 2 3/4 or nothing.
“I pulled up to a spot, I caught a little one, left, did some other stuff, had about 45 minutes left until I needed to head back. I was like, ‘I'm going to leave and go to the grass, and just see if I can catch one more big one in there.’ I was driving by that place where I caught that little bitty one on a rock pile.
“I pulled up there and made a cast and caught a little bitty dink. Usually when that happens, that's what's in there, little bitty dinks. I was about to pull it up, strap it down and run into the grass, and I'm like, ‘One more cast, a little bit further out.’
“So I threw out about another 10 feet to the left, picked up on it, and it was heavy. She jumped all over the place, barrel rolled at the boat, she was barely hooked in the side of her mouth. I got her on the side of the boat and bear-hugged her, threw her in, got her in the livewell and hauled butt into the weigh-in.”