Discover the Largest Largemouth Bass Ever Caught in Rhode Island

Written by Jeff Young
Published: September 5, 2022
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In many cases, record-breaking fish are caught accidentally. But this wasn’t the case for the largest largemouth bass ever caught in Rhode Island. This record was broken by two persistent angling friends after many years of pursuing their goal of catching a state-record bass. So just how big was the fish that they caught? Read on to find out.

What is a Largemouth Bass?

largemouth bass
Largemouth bass are the largest member of the sunfish family.

©Ryno Botha/

Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) are a green-colored fish with a white or light yellow-green underbelly. They are the largest member of the sunfish family and the most popular game fish to catch in the United States. They are found in freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams all across North America.

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Largemouth bass get their name from their large lower jaws, which give them their “large mouth” look.

In the northern latitudes, such as Rhode Island, most of the largemouth bass that are caught only weigh an average of one or two pounds. But in the warmer southern areas, such as Florida, they tend to grow much larger.

What is the Largest Largemouth Bass Ever Caught in Rhode Island?

Just before dawn on Saturday, April 30, 2016, Brandon Migliore caught a record-breaking largemouth bass that weighed in at 11.2 pounds. 

For years, Brandon and his fishing partner Matt Sheldon had gone out to Johnson’s Pond nearly every weekend night, hoping to catch a state-record bass. Before that triumphant weekend, they were only catching fish in the 2-pound class. 

Then Matt caught an 8-pound largemouth—the largest fish the pair had caught that season. But their luck didn’t stop there. Just a few short hours later, Brandon caught his 23.5-inch, 11.2-pound largemouth, eclipsing Matt’s previous catch and setting the new Rhode Island state record.

What is the World Record for the Largest Largemouth Bass Ever Caught?

For 90 years now, the world record for the largest largemouth bass ever caught has stood at 22.25 pounds. It was caught in 1932 by George W. Perry on Montgomery Lake in Georgia, USA.

On July 2, 2009, Manabu Kurita from Shiga, Japan, tied the world record on Lake Biwa—the largest freshwater lake in Japan. So now the world record is shared by these two anglers on opposite sides of the world, nearly a century apart.

Where Do Largemouth Bass Live?

Largemouth Bass from Lake
Largemouth bass thrive in clean and clear freshwater lakes.

©Maclane Parker/

Largemouth bass are native to North America, but they have been introduced to lakes and rivers all over the world.

They usually choose spawning areas that have a solid substrate, such as sand, gravel, or mud.

Largemouth bass inhabit freshwater lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and swamps, and they generally prefer slow-moving or non-flowing waters with plenty of aquatic vegetation. They tend to thrive best in clean and clear water, as this tends to attract more of the small fish that they feed on.

What Do Largemouth Bass Eat?

As adults, largemouth bass are the top predators in their ecosystem and will eat just about any animal they can fit into their large mouths.

Juvenile largemouth will feed on small insects, shrimp, and small baitfish. But as they grow larger, they will start to eat larger prey such as:

In some environments, largemouth bass have even been observed feasting on baby alligators!

Where To Go Largemouth Bass Fishing in Rhode Island

Watchaug Pond Rhode Island
Watchaug Pond within Burlingame State Park is a beautiful destination for fishing, boating, hiking, camping, and picnicking.

©Susilee Dean/

There are many great spots for largemouth bass fishing in Rhode Island, but here are a few favorites:

Johnson’s Pond

Brandon Migliore and Matt Sheldon were fishing at Johnson’s Pond in Coventry when they caught their state-record-breaking largemouth bass. This 650-acre lake in north-central Rhode Island has over 15 miles of shoreline to explore. In addition to largemouth bass, people often fish here for smallmouth bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, yellow perch, and chain pickerel.

Watchaug Pond

Located within the Burlingame State Park, Watchaug Pond is a popular destination for fishing, boating, hiking, camping, and picnicking. Located in the southwestern part of the state, this freshwater pond covers nearly 570 acres and 4 miles of shoreline. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, yellow perch, and chain pickerel can be found here.

Indian Lake

On the southeast side of the state, Indian Lake is a beautiful location for catching bass, bluegill, perch, and pike. It is surrounded by forested private homes, and although it’s a smaller lake of only 200 acres, it’s perfect for people who love canoes and kayaks.

Preparing For Your Fishing Trip

Before you go fishing in Rhode Island, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the state’s fishing regulations and get a fishing license. You can find all the information you need on the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s website.

Also, make sure you have the proper equipment for the type of fishing you’ll be doing so that you can stay safe and have a successful trip.

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