Discover The Largest Redeye Bass Ever Caught in Florida

Written by Heather Hall
Updated: May 12, 2023
© Gorloff-KV/
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What Is a Redeye Bass?

A redeye bass, or Micropterus coosae, is a species of freshwater fish native to the southeastern United States. They are members of the sunfish family and can be identified by a white trim along their tail fin. It typically reaches 8-10 inches in length and weighs between one and three pounds when fully grown. Redeye bass is found in clearwater streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs with rocky environments. They feed on small insects, larvae, and worms. Anglers highly prize this species due to their aggressive strikes when hooked, which makes them an exciting catch!

Redeye Bass
Redeye bass are typically 8-10 inches long when fully grown.

©David Cartier/

Does Redeye Bass Exist in Florida?

Though we once believed that redeye bass existed in Florida’s panhandle, subsequent genetic and other analyses have proven otherwise. It is now accepted that the fish misidentified by the public as redeye bass were likely one of the other bass species. This record of catching the largest-ever redeye bass in Florida was certified before these studies were conducted, but since then, it has been recognized that this type of fish is not likely to exist in this area. Nonetheless, this record stands as an impressive feat, with no current likelihood of being topped.

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Largest Redeye Bass Ever Caught in Florida

The 7.83-pound redeye bass caught by William Johnston on February 18th, 1989, in the Apalachicola River in Gadsden County, Florida, is the largest ever recorded in the state. We now know this was likely a different type of bass, but it is an impressive catch nonetheless. See the largest redeye bass in the world below!

How Big is a Redeye Bass Normally?

Redeye bass can live for ten years in the wild and have been reported to grow up to 19 inches long and weigh over five pounds! However, they usually average between 8-10 inches in length and weigh about three pounds. Fishing for redeye bass is becoming increasingly popular due to its size potential – just look at the record set by this angler!

Redeye bass
If you catch a tiny bass, throw it back in the water to grow for a few more seasons.


Redeye Bass Description

Redeye bass has a deep body with large eyes, which are red when fully mature. Its upper jaw extends past the back of its eye, giving it an unmistakable look. It is a slender fish with a large mouth containing one tongue tooth. Its dorsal fin consists of 9-11 spines and 11-13 rays, adding to its distinct appearance.

This fish’s coloration is unique, boasting shiny silver-brown tones mixed with olive-green hues along its sides and back. Redeye bass has been known to inhabit slow-moving rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds, making them easy prey for anglers looking for a challenge!

Redeye Bass World Record

Randy Dixon, age 44, was the angler who broke the world record for redeye bass on April 4th, 2001, in Lake Jocassee, South Carolina. Fishing from a boat with a Team Daiwa 7-foot medium-heavy rod and Shimano reel loaded with 12-pound-test Sigma line, he used Texas rigging with a Zoom worm to snag his catch of 5 pounds 2.5 ounces (circumference 15 inches; fork length 19 inches).

Dixon arrived at Lake Jocassee early that morning to start his day of fishing when he hooked the redeye – little did he know it would be a historic moment! When Dixon reeled it in and saw how big it was, he knew immediately that this was no ordinary fish. Dan Rankin, a DNR district fisheries biologist based in Clemson, verified its weight and species when they weighed it together. The previous world record for redeye bass had been set more than seven years prior at 4 pounds 8 ounces by Larry Gilbert on May 25th, 1994, in Florida’s Apalachicola River – making Randy Dixon’s catch almost half a pound heavier!

Redeye bass
There are many places in Florida to fish!


Best Fishing Spots in Florida

If you’re looking to catch a record-breaking fish in Florida, you should look no further. Different types of bait will attract different fish, so make sure to use the right kind for whatever species you’re targeting. Florida is home to hundreds of lakes full of different fish species, but some are well-known for producing good quality and quantities of fish. They primarily owe their thriving fish population to the weather and healthy vegetation across Florida throughout the year.

Lake Okeechobee

This massive freshwater lake is known for its excellent fishing year-round, and spring is especially a good time to fish here. Clewiston and Belle Glade are the best locations to fish during spring when most fish are still in their spawning process.

Lake Seminole

Lake Seminole is known for its abundance of largemouth bass and contains striped bass, crappie, chain pickerel, and catfish. In the lake’s upper reaches, there is also a population of shoal bass, which is a favorite among anglers.

Lake Talquin

Lake Talquin is an 8,800-acre freshwater lake in North Florida, just about 10 miles west of Tallahassee. It is one of the best fishing lakes in the country, with a variety of fish, including largemouth bass, striped bass, spotted bass, and white bass. The lake also has bowfin, crappie, speckled perch, bream, and catfish. The lake’s shoreline measures over 40 miles and features top-notch picnic facilities.

Lake George

Lake George is the second-largest lake in the state and is known for being an excellent fishing spot. The lake is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including migratory water birds and several marine species. You can fish for striped bass, big bass, sunfish, and mullet. Lake George is also home to a large population of blue crabs, making it one of the world’s only freshwater blue crab fisheries! Even though the lake lacks vegetation, there are still plenty of spots to catch fish.

Lake Istokpoga

Many trophy fish have been caught in Lake Istokpoga, a large freshwater lake in central Florida. The lake is not very deep, with an average depth of only 4 feet, but it is a popular destination for fishing. Several fish camps are located around the lake, where visitors can stay overnight.

Lake Kissimmee

The Kissimmee is made up of four lakes that are connected, totaling around 75,000 acres of great bass fishing waters. These lakes include Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho), Lake Kissimmee, and the smaller Lakes Cypress and Hatchineha. The environment in Lake Kissimmee is perfect for bass, with cattail, lily pads, and bulrush.

How to Catch Redeye Bass

Redeye bass is known for being feisty and fun to catch. When fishing, the most successful anglers target areas with cover or breaks in the current. This can include logs, rocks, stumps, and other submerged objects that offer protection from predators. Additionally, casting into shallow weed beds is a great way to target this species of fish. Redeye bass is known for putting up a fight when caught on the line, making them an exciting catch for any angler!

When you’re trying to catch a redeye bass, it’s best to approach from downstream so the fish don’t see you coming. Cast your line into the water closer to you first, and then try for fish that are further away. Bass are usually hiding in debris or rocks, so try casting your line into those areas.

Bait and Lures

Redeye bass typically eats other fish and crayfish, so try using bait that imitates these food items. Some good examples of bait include a 4-inch finesse worm on a 1/8 oz shaky head, a floating Rapala, or a spinnerbait such as a Satilla spin, Roostertail, or a popping bug on a fly rod.

If you’re looking to catch a redeye bass, consider using natural baits like worms or minnows or artificial lures like spoons, spinners, or plugs. You can also try fly fishing, trolling, or drift fishing. If you’re introducing someone new to fishing, still fishing with a worm on a hook is a great option.

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About the Author

I am a freelance writer with 22 years of experience. I live in the Pacific Northwest and am surrounded by nature. When I go for my daily runs I often see herds of elk, deer, and bald eagles. I am owned by two dogs who take me on hikes in the mountains where we see coyotes, black bears, and wild turkeys.

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