Record Bass Caught in San Diego

Below you will find 2 articles from the San Diego Union-Tribune. For picture Click here. Thanks to Art Casale for emailing the story to us.
21.70-pounder fourth-biggest in record book

By Ed Zieralski

June 1, 2003  
Link to the news article

ESCONDIDO Jed Dickerson of Carlsbad made bass-fishing history yesterday morning by catching a huge bass at tiny Dixon Lake.

Dickerson, a 30-year-old fanatical big-bass fisherman, caught and released a 21.70-pound largemouth bass, the fourth-heaviest on record in the world, third-largest in the state and heaviest ever in San Diego County's rich bass-fishing history.

It knocked off San Diegan Dave Zimmmerlee's 20.94-pounder that he caught at Miramar in June 1973, a record that endured nearly 30 years. And it was just over a half a pound from matching the heaviest bass ever caught, the famous 22.25-pounder caught by George Perry at Montgomery Lake (Ga.) on June 2, 1932, almost 71 years ago to the day of Dickerson's epic catch.

Also, if approved by the International Game Fish Association, Dickerson's catch will set the IGFA's line-class world record for a largemouth caught on 20-pound test line, now a 19-pounder caught by Dan Kadota in 1989 at Castaic.

"I'll tell you, it's just awesome, but to be honest, it all hasn't sunk in yet," Dickerson said. "I'm a laid-back guy, and the thing is, I know there are bigger bass in this lake. We're after a bigger one."

It was typical for a big-bass fisherman to want more. Dickerson was surrounded by his big-bass-chasing buddies, all regulars at Dixon.

There was Mac Weakley, who landed a 19-pound, 7-ounce bass nearly two weeks ago at Dixon. That bass now ranks 13th in the world.

Weakley, who works with Dickerson as a banker for a corporation that funds card rooms, was fishing a couple of hundred yards away with another member of the group, Mike Winn. They witnessed Dickerson's catch.

And, of course, there was Mike Long, the Poway angler who has caught more giant largemouth bass than any other angler in the country.

"I've already gotten calls about this bass from fishermen at the Delta," Long said. "When there's a catch like this, it's like lightning striking in the bass world."

Before yesterday, Long had held the Dixon Lake record with a 20.75-pounder he caught in April 2001. It's now ninth on the all-time, world-record bass list.

"Jed's a great guy," Long said. "This is what happens when you put in the time, and Jed definitely put in the time."

Just ask Dickerson's wife, Erma, who took a phone call at 7 a.m. from her fishing-crazy husband. Dickerson's job with the card rooms calls for late hours. But that doesn't stop him from going to the lake four to five times a week on very little rest, and he has been doing that for the last three years.

"I'm not surprised he caught it at all," Erma Dickerson said. "Every day he says, 'Babe, I've gotta go to the lake.' "

Dickerson's bass measured 281/2 inches long and sported a 263/4-inch girth. He caught it on 20-pound P-Line on a Calcutta 400 reel and a stiff G-Loomis Muskie Light Bucktail rod.

It was what bass anglers call a "sight fish," in that Dickerson saw it and then fished for it. Some sight fishermen spend unbelievable amounts of time for one "sight" fish. Dickerson, whose previous best bass was a 151/2-pounder at Dixon, said he toyed with this one for 45 minutes before enticing it to bite the 8-inch Mission Fish, a plastic trout imitation swimbait. He horsed it to the boat in less than a minute, he said.

He was fishing between the Boat Dock and Pier No. 2 and landed it at 6:45 a.m.

"We were at Bass Point, and I saw him swing on the fish," Mike Winn said. "We knew there was a big bass over there, and I told Mac that Jed was fishing for it. Then we saw he had it."

Dickerson might be laid-back, but he let out a rebel yell when he boated the bass.

"It came up on the swimbait a couple of times, but then it finally took it," Dickerson said. "When I got it in the boat, I yelled, and I know everyone at the lake heard me."

It's been just over 12 years since the last 22-pound largemouth bass was caught, that being a 22.01-pounder by Bob Crupi at Lake Castaic in March 1991.

Dickerson didn't break George Perry's or Crupi's mark. His bass spilled a few ounces of fluids and roe before settling in at 21.70 pounds, a weight verified by ranger Jim Dayberry. The fish also was checked by a state Department of Fish and Game warden.

The catch actually was only .05-ounce from the official state record held by Mike Arujo, a 21.75-pounder he caught at Castaic Lake in March 1991. Crupi's 22.01, which he caught a week later, also at Castaic, is the unofficial record because Crupi never had his catch verified by the Department of Fish and Game. The state never has recognized it as a record. However, the IGFA lists it as a line-class, world-record catch for 16-pound test line.

All those big bass were caught at Castaic, a huge fishery north of Los Angeles. Dixon is all of 70 acres, 60 of which are fishable. But now it has produced two of the top nine bass ever caught in the world.

"This lake is going to produce the world-record bass," Dayberry said. "We feed more trout to these bass than any other lake in the country."
By Ed Zieralski  

June 3, 2003   Link to the news article

Say one thing about that huge, history-making largemouth bass caught Saturday at Dixon Lake. It's moving up on the charts.

It turns out that Jed Dickerson's 21.70-pound largemouth, the fourth-heaviest bass ever caught in the world, may have been the same bass caught by big-bass hunter Mike Long on April 27, 2001, at Dixon Lake.

Long was asked Saturday if Dickerson's bass might be the same bass, a 20.75-pounder that Long caught and released at Dixon, but Long said he didn't believe it was.

But upon further review . . . and after looking at the film  . .

"It's the same bass I released in 2001," Long said. "When I first saw it, I didn't think it was, but after I got my pictures back, I could see that it had the same black dot on the right lower side of its cheek that mine did."

Dickerson's bass, a potential International Game Fish Association line-class, world-record catch on 20-pound line, measured 281/2 inches long and sported a 263/4-inch girth.

If Dickerson's bass is the same largemouth Long landed and released, it has lost a bit of its waistline and grown some length. Long's bass caught in 2001 was, as Long referred to it then, "a perfect bass; it looked like it swallowed a basketball."

Long's bass measured 27 inches long, 11/2 inches less than Dickerson's, and had a girth of 27 inches, 1/4-inch more than Dickerson's.

"There are just a whole bunch of the same identifying marks that the bass I caught had," Long said. "It's the same bass, just bigger now."

Dickerson celebrated his big catch by returning to Dixon yesterday to try for another bass. He plans to submit the catch to the IGFA to be considered for a line-class world record for 20-pound test line. The present mark is a 19-pounder caught by Dan Kadota in 1989 at Castaic.

Dickerson, 30, of Carlsbad, didn't realize his catch shattered that mark until a reporter told him about it later in the day.

"It's all starting to hit me right now," he said. "This is something I've wanted to do for three years, but it's like, when I finally did it, I didn't know what to say."

Dickerson released the record bass later in the morning, and he said it swam away powerfully.

"She swam straight out and down, which is good," he said.

Dickerson said he had a premonition that he might catch a huge bass on Saturday.

"I fished the same week last year, the last week of May, and I caught an 111/2-, a 131/2-and a 141/2-pounder," Dickerson said. "I lost a huge bass in that same period. I think it was as big or bigger than this one."

He said he plans to contact all the companies that made the equipment he used to catch the bass. He used a Mission Fish, a plastic imitation trout-pattern swimbait, on 20-pound P-Line, spooled on a Calcutta 400 reel and G-Loomis Muskie Light Bucktail rod. Companies often give product, cash and appearance fees to anglers who use their gear to catch historic fish.

And there isn't a fish around right now that has more history than this bass, once possibly the eighth-heaviest bass in the world, but certainly now fourth on the big-bass chart.

"See, catch and release works," Long said.

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