A Day on the Lake: The Record Book

I conceived Bassmaster's "Day on the Lake" back in 1997 not as a series, but as a one-time article. My premise was simple: I wondered how a top BASS pro would fare on a small lake he'd never seen before— where he'd fish; what he'd look at in the way of structure and cover; what lures and presentations he'd use; how he'd put together a viable pattern given no prior knowledge of the lake, with no map and no practice time. My hunch was that readers would pick up useful tips on how to fish their home lakes by gaining inside access to a pro's decision-making process on a strange body of water.

The first "Day on the Lake" article, featuring Texas pro Jay Yelas, appeared in the February 1999 Bassmaster. Readers ate it up and demanded more. To date, I've written 50 installments in what has become the most popular reality series in bass fishing. To mark the occasion, I've compiled some facts and figures that followers of this series should find interesting. My thanks to all the BASS pros I've worked with, Bassmaster editors James Hall and Dave Precht, and especially to you readers, for making "Day on the Lake" a success. Hopefully the seasonal fishing tips you've learned from the pros will make all your days on the lake more rewarding and enjoyable. —Don Wirth

 Note: Since my outings with pros take place 12 months in advance of the article's publication, this is the first time some of the information that follows has appeared in print. Be sure to watch future issues of Bassmaster for "Day on the Lake" articles referenced below that have not yet been published

Heaviest Five-Bass Limit


1. Greg Hackney, 28 pounds, 5 ounces; May 25, 2006


2. Gary Klein, 27 pounds, 1 ounce; May 8, 2003


3. Kelly Jordon, 25 pounds, 8 ounces; August 11, 2003


4. Larry Nixon, 24 pounds, 8 ounces; April 23, 1998



Lightest Five-Bass Limit


1. Basil Bacon, 4 pounds, 2 ounces; October 18, 1999


2. Dave Wolak, 6 pounds, 5 ounces; September 8, 2006


3. Aaron Martens, 7 pounds, 15 ounces; November 16, 2005


4. Guy Eaker, Sr., 9 pounds, 6 ounces; October 18, 2002


5. Dean Rojas, 9 pounds, 14 ounces; December 5, 2006

 Most Memorable Moments

 1. January 31, 2007, 9:35 a.m. In spite of air temperature in the teens, iced-up rod guides and 39-degree water, Russ Lane catches a monster 11-pound, 14-ounce largemouth on a crankbait. It was the biggest bass the pro had ever caught, and the biggest so far in this series. Lane's second(and only other) keeper that day weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces; he said it "looked like a minnow" by comparison.

 2. May 25, 2006, 7:50 a.m. Greg Hackney hangs his crankbait in a submerged tree. Rather than disturb the spot by retrieving the lure, he breaks it off, picks up a rod rigged with a jig and catches an 8-pound, 15-ounce largemouth from the tree on his next cast.

 3. May 8, 2003, 9:11 a.m. A 6-pound, 8-ounce largemouth inhales Gary Klein's buzzbait. When he swings the bass aboard, his rod snaps in two.

 4. May 8, 2003, 10:42 a.m. Klein retrieves his buzzbait past a submerged brushpile and a 7-13 largemouth boils all over it. He wisely opts to lip-land this lunker.

 5. April 20, 2004, 11:05 a.m. Joe Thomas hangs an enormous fish on a crankbait. After a five-minute battle, it rises to the surface and reveals itself to be a 50-pound catfish.

 Best Lures by Month

 January: Deep diving crankbait


February: Jig, spinnerbait


March: Suspending jerkbait, lipless crankbait


April: Tube bait, lizard, jig, spinnerbait, suspending jerkbait


May: Buzzbait, jig, deep diving crankbait


June: Deep diving crankbait, big plastic worm


July: Deep diving crankbait, big plastic worm, tube bait


August: Creature bait, deep diving crankbait


September: Square-bill crankbait


October: Square-bill crankbait


November: Jig, spinnerbait, square-bait crankbait, suspending jerkbait


December: Small diving crankbait

 Coldest Day on the Lake


Date: January 31, 2007


Low: 10 degrees


High: 28 degrees


Water temperature:39 degrees


Pro: Russ Lane

 (In spite of frigid air and water temperatures, Lane caught the biggest bass yet recorded in this series: 11 pounds, 14 ounces.)

 Hottest Day on the Lake


Date: July 22, 1999


High: 101 degrees


Low: 83 degrees


Water temperature: 94 degrees


Pro: Denny Brauer

 (Brauer failed to catch a keeper bass that day. His only bite netted him an 11-inch largemouth.)

 Worst Day on the Lake


1. Denny Brauer: 0 keepers; 0 pounds, 0 ounces, July 22, 1999


2. Roland Martin: 1 keeper; 1 pound, 0 ounces, August 14, 2001


3. Rick Morris: 1 keeper; 1 pound, 8 ounces, September 18, 2003


3. Zell Rowland: 1 keeper, 1 pound, 8 ounces, September 21, 2004


4. Mike Iaconelli: 2 keepers, 4 pounds, 0 ounces, February 17, 2005


5. Skeet Reese: 3 keepers, 4 pounds, 6 ounces, June 7, 2004



Heaviest Catch — Fewer Than Five Bass


1. Alton Jones: 4 keepers; 19 pounds, 4 ounces


2. Russ Lane: 2 keepers; 18 pounds, 6 ounces


3. Stacy King: 4 keepers;17 pounds, 2 ounces


4. Kevin Wirth: 3 keepers; 13 pounds, 5 ounces


5. Art Ferguson: 4 keepers; 12 pounds, 3 ounces

 Biggest Lunkers


January: Russ Lane 11 pounds, 14 ounces Bomber Fat Free Shad Crankbait January 31, 2007


May: Greg Hackney 8 pounds, 15 ounces Strike King jig May 25, 2006


Paul Elias 8 pounds, 1 ounce Mann's 20+ Crankbait May 29, 2002


Gary Klein 7 pounds 13 ounces Lunker Lure buzzbait May 8, 2003


June: Tim Horton 9 pounds, 2 ounces Bomber Fat Free Shad Crankbait June 15, 2002

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