With the Lake Chickamauga FLW Tour event in town, I decided to stay off the highly pressured big bass factory that I call home and head to a little clear mountain lake about 45 minutes from the house. Lake Parksville is nestled right in the middle of the Smokey Mountain national forest and is known for big spotted bass and being a very tough fishery.
When I backed the boat into the water that morning, I told my fishing partner that I just hope we catch a fish today. After hitting a few of my favorite spotted bass points with no luck I decided to move shallow to see if any largemouth were still on beds. I picked up one of my favorite secret swimbaits that I love to throw this time of year and began covering water. After about five minutes of throwing it I saw an absolute giant fish chase it out of the shallows.
At first I thought it was a carp because I’ve never seen anything close to that big in Parksville. My biggest fish ever out of the lake was previously a five pound spot. I immediately began shaking and after closer examination, I noticed that it was on bed. My fishing partner made a cast to the bed with a wacky worm and caught a three pound male that we didn’t even see. Being an experienced bed fisherman I told him to put it in the live well until we could catch the female.
The female wasn’t locked on the bed very good, but she wasn’t skiddish either. After fishing for her for about ten minutes I could tell it was about to bite. I flipped in there with my 7’6” Voodoo II XH, twitched my bait one time, and she absolutely smoked it! The fight was on then, and after jumping and running under the boat once, I put the strength of that rod to good use by horsing it to the net.
After a huge yell I couldn’t believe what I was looking at, a true northern strain largemouth that was easily over ten pounds. Fish like that are very common in Lake Chickamauga where it is full of fast growing Florida strain bass. But for a northern strain largemouth to be that big it had to be at least twenty years old. My scale weighed the fish to be 10.25 pounds and always weighs a quarter pound light to a certified scale. I called my buddy that has fished that lake his whole life to see if I had just caught a lake record, he said the biggest fish he ever heard of was an 8.92 pounds.
Knowing that it was probably easily the lake record, I decided instead of risking killing it, to release it back to where it came from. I got some great pictures, and then let it go back on it’s bed. Yes it would have been cool to have my name with the certified lake record largemouth, but at the same time it is just as cool to me to know that the genes of that once in a lifetime fish are going to be carried on to another generation.
God bless and good luck out there on the water.