Man has an awesome birthday when he catches a monster largemouth bass that weighed over 17 pounds!
March 30 is Keith Watkins’ birthday. Last week Watkins decided to celebrate his 51st birthday by bass fishing with his buddy, Stanley Elrod. The two friends put their boat in at an undisclosed Coweta County lake and started after largemouth bass. But the fishing was slow for the first hour or so.
Georgia Outdoor News reported Watkins’s account of the day, “Stanley was wearing me out. We had been there about an hour and a half, and he caught one about 3 1/2 right of the bat. An hour later, I caught one that was two, and I hadn’t caught another fish. He said ‘Man it’s your birthday. I want you to catch them.’”
Elrod’s birthday wish for his friend came true a little while later when the two motored up to a point and started casting. Stanley caught four fish straight away, each weighing between two to three pounds. Watkins said, “He [Stanley] had been throwing to the bank, and I threw crossways across this point, and she nailed it.”
The anglers knew they had a hog on the end of the line. Watkins was casting a green-pumpkin Zoom Trick Worm on a 3/8-ounce Gambler Giggy Head, off of spinning gear with only 12-pound test line.
He admits he was sweating over losing the fish on the light line.
I figured any second my line was going to pop. I loosened the line so loose that you could have pulled it out with your breath. I was just trying to wear the fish out. We’d seen her several times. I played her, played her and played her and finally wore her out and got her.
“It took me 20 minutes to get it in the net,” said Watkins. “This fish fought so hard. She went under the boat five times. I was in the front of the boat, then in the back of the boat. It was almost a dead miracle that I got her in.”
When the two friends finally did get the big bass netted they knew they had a record-breaking fish. They motored in to shore and drove to the nearest town on the map, Villa Rica, and straight to E.T. Doyal & Sons Feed and Seed store where a certified scale was used to weigh the fish. It topped out at 17 pounds, 9.6 ounces, was 33 inches long and had a 28-inch girth.
Owner, Jerry Doyal, witnessed the weighing and remarked, “It was the biggest fish I’ve ever seen.”
Watkins’ bass ranks as the fourth largemouth ever caught in Georgia, and the biggest taken since 1987 when an 18-pound, 1-ounce beast was taken from Lake Margery. It’s worth noting that the long-standing world record largemouth bass also came from Georgia: George Perry’s monstrous 22-pound, 4-ounce fish caught out of Montgomery Lake in 1932.
The story of Perry’s fish, caught on a Creek Chub Fintail Shiner, is legendary. But Keith Watkin’s also now has his own legendary tale to tell.