New World Record Smallmouth at Laurel River Lake?
Perhaps you are among the many smallmouth bass anglers who have gotten news of a possible new world record smallmouth bass that was sampled at Laurel River Lake in Kentucky near London, Kentucky. According to early reports, the smallmouth was weighed on a hand scale at just over 12 pounds. If this is the case, this would mean that if the fish is ever caught by conventional methods, the 11 pound 15 ounce world record smallmouth caught by David L. Hayes at Dale Hollow Lake in 1955 could be in jeopardy.
I first saw the report on the Tennessee Outdoorsman web site at http://www.tennoutdoorsman.com/index.php/fishing/14-fishing-news/401-world-record-smallmouth-bass which pictured an official with the Fish and Wildlife Resources posing with the monster smallmouth that was shocked up from Laurel River Lake, located in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Eastern Kentucky. News of the fish has also popped up on a number of fishing discussion boards.
If the story is true, it would mean that the new world record could be the product of Dale Hollow Lake, but at the same time, not be in Dale Hollow. According to a report from Kentucky Afield Outdoors which was filed March 18, 2011, the 5,830-acre Laurel River Lake is home to a number of big smallmouth bass; Coolie Williams fooling an 8.46 pound smallmouth bass into hitting a spinnerbait in the middle of the night in May of 1998, and a 7-pound, 7-ounce smallmouth being submitted from Laurel River Lake to the Trophy Fish/Master Angler Program in 2009. According to the Kentucky Afield Report, genetic seeds from Dale Hollow started the smallmouth fishery in Laurel River Lake when the fisheries division of Kentucky Fish and Wildlife stocked roughly 370,000 smallmouth bass in Laurel River in the mid-1980s.
Upon further investigation, John Williams (southeastern fisheries district biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources) reports that the Laurel River Lake smallmouth pictured was caught in gill nets during a walleye survey that was conducted in November, 2011. Williams says that since black bass were not being sampled, the fish was not weighed; a photograph was taken and the fish was returned to the water. The individuals in the boat who saw the fish firsthand are estimating its weight between six and eight pounds.
It appears that once again Hayes gets to hang onto his world record.
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