Bailey Lands Possible Record Spot - Major League Fishing

Bailey Lands Possible Record Spot

11-4 might be the new mark to beat
Image for Bailey Lands Possible Record Spot
Paul Bailey (right) holds up the potential world record spotted bass weighing 11 pounds 4 ounces. Matt Newman (left) holds up a 6 and a 8 pound spotted bass. Photo by Shea McIntee.
November 30, 2015 • Jody White • Archives

The chase for the world record spotted bass has been on for a while now, and this might be a banner year for the hunters. Sunday, Nov. 29, at an undisclosed lake in California, Paul Bailey of Kelseyville, Calif., landed a fish that unofficially topped the current record fish, Lou Ferrante’s 10.95-pound spotted bass,  which was caught less than a year ago. Bailey’s behemoth was weighed on three different Rapala digital scales. Each registered a different weight: 11 pounds, 7 ounces, 11-5 and 11-4.

While Bailey’s fish was almost certainly larger than the existing record bass, it might not end up as the official record. Ferrante kept his fish and weighed it on a certified scale. While Bailey has plenty of witnesses and photos, he was unable to find a California Department of Fish and Wildlife agent willing and able to certify the fish on a holiday Sunday and was unwilling to risk keeping it overnight or killing the fish.

“I was torn between killing the fish [or letting it go],” says Bailey. “If it was a largemouth bass and it was a record-class fish, that’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal. These spotted bass are just getting started, and I know the record is going to be broken again. It just wasn’t worth it to me to kill the fish and go through it all.”

Bailey might still end up with an official record. If one or more of the scales used to weigh the fish can be certified, the fish might be able to be named the California record.


The Story Behind the Fish

Paul Bailey's 11 pound 4 ounce spotted bass.

The best part of the catch might be that it was captured on film. The whole thing went down in a few minutes while filming an episode of “Stoked on Fishing” with host Shea McIntee and pro angler Matt Newman.

“We got there about 10 o’clock in the morning and started fishing points and stuff and had just caught a couple rats,” says Bailey. “We pulled into one cut and worked all the way into the back, and then Matt caught an 8-pounder.

“It was a big fish, and while he was hooting and hollering and dancing because it was his personal best, I snuck up and made a cast to the same spot,” he continues. “It just felt like my bait was going over some pebbles on the bottom. I told them I had a bite, they turned the cameras on me and I set the hook.”

A few minutes later, Bailey was looking at what he thought was a 10-pounder and what Newman was sure was a record-breaker.

After settling down and putting the fish in the livewell, the group agreed that someone needed to cast back into that spot. Newman took the honors, and the magic hole produced a 6-pounder. Shockingly, the pair had managed to catch three spotted bass worth more than 23 pounds in the span of three casts.

The tackle and bait for Bailey’s fish were simple: a Picasso Tungsten Shakedown shaky head with a Martens magic-colored 6-inch Roboworm Fat Straight Tail Worm. Bailey fished with an iRod IRG712S spinning rod with 10-pound-test braid and a 12-pound-test Damiki fluorocarbon leader.

How to catch a giant spotted bass

Cody Meyer's 9 pound spotted bass