On a cool day in April, Russell Nauceder of Jamestown paid a visit to one of his favorite places to fish. It’s a day that he won’t soon forget. Nauceder caught the biggest largemouth bass of his fishing career, and almost the largest one in all of Ohio. And he caught it right here in the Greene County area.
The existing state record for a largemouth bass is 13.13 pounds, caught by Roy Landsberger in a private pond back on May 26, 1976 in Kensington, Ohio.
Here’s Russell Nauceder’s fish story:
“… I received many inquiries about it, and have since learned that it is one of the largest bass ever caught in Ohio. The state record is just over 13 lbs and was caught 43 years ago. Although I consider myself an opportunistic (some say Lucky) fisherman, there was a plan for exactly how to fish on this day.
“It’s early spring and the bass are in a pre-spawn mode. This is when they are the heaviest, full of eggs. They can be non-aggressive and hard to catch, but on this day, using a jig with a crawfish trailer, I saw the line move slightly and set the hook.
“The fish pulled the drag out easily. I was using a 6-foot pole with 6-lb. line. I thought it was a catfish. I’d say 5-7 minutes later, I had it close to shore and saw it was a bass — a big bass.
“I quickly grabbed it by the lip and brought it in. Fortunately for me, I had a digital scale to weigh her: 11 lbs. 7 oz.
“I couldn’t believe it! In fact, I assumed the scale wasn’t accurate. I have a fish measuring scale, so I quickly laid her on it: 25 1/4 inches.
“Using a cloth tape measure, she had a 19 1/2 inches girth. Unfortunately for me, I had no witnesses. All I had was a fish story and a few photos of the length and weight.
“As I was about to let her go, I heard a voice say “watcha got there?”
“It was the owner of the pond. I showed him and, as he commented on what a giant bass it was, he asked me if I was going to keep it to have mounted.
“Ironically the day before, my brother-in-law Jim and I were just talking about how big a bass would have to be to mount. We both settled on 8-plus pounds. After seeing this one — 4 pounds bigger than my previous best — I thought ‘there’s no way I can keep it.’
“I told the owner: ‘I’m putting her back into the pond.’
“He smiled and said ‘good.’
“I feel good about that decision. It’s a rare fish, for sure. A once-in-a-lifetime catch. One I’ll never forget.
“I can get a replica made. And some day, someone else will catch their fish of a lifetime.”
Out of respect for the pond’s owner, Nauceder chose not to reveal the location of where he made his near-historic catch, only stating that it was caught on a private pond. Do you have a good fish story, and some photos to back it up? We’d be glad to hear from you. Send your Fish Story to: firstname.lastname@example.org . Happy Fishing!