- Bass fishing has existed as a hobby since at least the 1800s.
- The largemouth bass can reach up to three feet long and weigh 15 to 20 pounds.
- There are currently two separate records for the largest largemouth bass ever caught in the state: one for the largest by weight, and one for the largest by length.
Managing to catch a largemouth bass is no small feat, even for an experienced fisher! As the largest species among the black basses by far, this handsome whopper of a fish is held in high regard, with anglers all over North America vying to beat their state’s records and many even attempting to establish a new world record. So, what is Colorado’s largest largemouth bass ever caught? Does it come close to the largest specimen ever caught worldwide? Let’s take a closer look below!
An Introduction to the Largemouth Bass
As we briefly mentioned above, the largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides, is a sizable fish. In fact, it’s both the largest member of its genus, the black basses, and the largest member of its entire family, Centrarchidae.
There are 38 total species in the Centrarchidae family of sunfishes. They range from the black-banded sunfish at just 3 inches on average to the largemouth bass, which is believed to be capable of reaching up to 3 feet in length. Usually, though, it maxes out somewhere between 16 to 24 inches long. Females tend to be larger than males, as they are often fertile breeders that must carry large numbers of eggs at a time.
Like all black bass species, the largemouth bass is a dull, olive greenish color with dark brown markings on its sides. Long, thin, bony rays support its fins, and its body is rather narrow and compressed laterally.
Also similar to other known Micropterus species, the largemouth bass thrives in most freshwater habitats. It is native to much of North America. Its numbers tend to be highest in areas east of the Rocky Mountains. However, it can be found as far north as southern Canada and as far south as northern Mexico. It has also been introduced to other parts of the world in more recent years, such as east Asia and the Iberian Peninsula in Europe.
Thanks to their large size, strength, and keen hunting abilities, these unique fish are usually apex predators. They have few, if any, known predators aside from humans. For this same reason, they can often become invasive and somewhat destructive if their populations are left unchecked. On average, they live for 10 to 15 years in the wild.
A Brief History of Largemouth Bass Fishing
Bass fishing has existed as a hobby since at least the 1800s. Since the hobby’s inception, the largemouth bass has been the most popular black bass among anglers of all experience levels. The earliest method popularized for largemouth bass fishing (as well as other black bass species) was fly fishing. Anglers adapted this method from those used to catch fish like salmon and trout.
Largemouth bass fishing began to truly take off in the latter half of the 1800s. With the development of the steam engine, railways were quickly spreading across the western half of the United States. At the same time, communities sprung up surrounding tank ponds that were stocked with largemouth, smallmouth, and other black basses. Thanks to the largemouth bass’ hardy nature and ability to tolerate being transported long-distance across different climates, it became a staple in many communities’ tank ponds.
By the early-to-mid-20th century, largemouth bass fishing methods had become more diverse than fly fishing. In the 1950s, plastic worm-like lures became standard, as they were very cheap to produce. Even today, these lures are incredibly popular and have high success rates. They are typically colorful and flashy, and they attract largemouth bass because of their resemblance to the species’ aquatic invertebrate prey.
As the latter half of the 20th century rolled around, bass fishing had become popular enough that large-scale tournaments were established for the sport. In 1967, the B.A.S.S. Federation held its first competition. In 1971, the Bassmaster Classic followed suit.
Today, largemouth bass fishing has even spread beyond North America to other parts of the world. This is in part thanks to the species’ now-invasive status in parts of Asia, Europe, and even South America.
How Big Do Largemouth Bass Get?
While most of the smaller black basses range from around 10 to 20 inches in length, the largemouth bass can reach up to three feet long! However, most individuals average just 12 to 15 inches in length. Incredibly, the largemouth bass is the longest, heaviest, and overall largest of all species within both its genus (Micropterus; 13 total species) and entire family (Centrarchidae; 38 total species!).
What’s more, this fish is equally impressive when it comes to its average weight! Adult specimens range from around 10 to 12 pounds. However, very large specimens commonly reach 15 to 20 pounds or more.
Like many species, the largemouth bass displays significant sexual dimorphism. This means males and females are visually distinct from one another, particularly in their sizes. As we briefly touched on earlier, females are much larger and heavier than males because their bodies must support large numbers of eggs. This is why catch-and-release fishing tends to be the norm in North America since large females help to boost and maintain the species’ numbers.
What is the Largest Largemouth Bass Ever Caught in Colorado?
According to Colorado Parks & Wildlife, there are currently two separate records for the largest largemouth bass ever caught in the state: one for the largest by weight, and one for the largest by length. Notably, only catch-and-release entries are accepted for length records in Colorado.
The heaviest largemouth bass ever caught in Colorado was 11.38 pounds. Though this doesn’t quite compare to the world record we’ll cover below, 11+ pounds is still impressively large by largemouth bass standards! The record-breaking bass was caught in 1997 by Jarrett Edwards at Colorado’s Echo Canyon Reservoir in Archuleta County. The Echo Canyon Reservoir is located in southwest Colorado’s Pagosa Springs. It is of the state’s smaller fishing destinations at just 211 acres.
Meanwhile, the longest largemouth bass ever caught in the state was a whopping 21.5 inches long. It was caught by Benjamin Nira in 2022 at Jayhawker Pond #1. Located in Loveland, Colorado, the Jayhawker Ponds are actually divided into two locations: Jayhawker North and South, also simply referred to as #1 and #2.
While Colorado Parks & Wildlife lists the years for both the length and weight state records, their exact dates are not available.
What is the Largest Largemouth Bass Ever Caught?
Incredibly, the largest largemouth bass ever caught worldwide tipped the scales at 22 pounds and 4.97 ounces! This one-of-a-kind catch belongs to angler Manabu Kurita, hailing from Aichi, Japan.
Kurita secured this record-breaking catch on July 2nd, 2009, at Japan’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Biwa. Lake Biwa is also one of Japan’s most popular fishing destinations thanks to its robust and diverse native fish population. It is located in the country’s Shiga Prefecture northeast of Kyoto. Although the largemouth bass is not native to Japan, it is now invasive after being introduced to the area in the 1920s.
It’s worth noting, though, that Kurita’s catch is less than an ounce larger than the previous angler to establish this record all the way back in 1932: George W. Perry, from Rentz, Georgia. He caught a 22-pound, 4-ounce largemouth bass at Montgomery Lake in Telfair County, Georgia. Even today, Montgomery Lake remains a modest yet well-known bass fishing spot in southeast Georgia.
Furthermore, because these two anglers’ catches are less than two ounces apart, they currently technically share the world record! According to International Game Fish Association (IGFA) regulations, a record-breaking catch has to be at least two ounces larger than the previous record holder.
Where Is Echo Canyon Reservoir Located on a Map?
Echo Canyon is a small state wildlife area with a popular fishing lake in Colorado, featuring walleye, crappie, bluegill, and largemouth bass. It is located in the southwestern part of the state. You can hike and camp in the nearby Echo Canyon State Park.
Where Is Jayhawker Pond Located on a Map?
Located in Loveland, Colorado, the Jayhawker Ponds are actually divided into two locations: Jayhawker North and South, also simply referred to as #1 and #2. The longest largemouth bass ever caught in the state was caught in Jayhawker Pond #1. The ponds also offer channel catfish, bluegill, crappie, and yellow perch.
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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What was the size of the largest largemouth bass ever found?
The largest largemouth bass ever caught worldwide tipped the scales at 22 pounds and 4.97 ounces! This one-of-a-kind catch belongs to angler Manabu Kurita, hailing from Aichi, Japan.
What was the heaviest largemouth bass in Colorado?
The heaviest largemouth bass ever caught in Colorado was 11.38 pounds. Though this doesn’t quite compare to the world record we’ll cover below, 11+ pounds is still impressively large by largemouth bass standards!
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