Tenacity was the name of the game when a Missouri angler landed a record striped bass from the banks of Bull Shoals Lake.
When Lawrence Dillman of Rockaway Beach, Mo., stepped onto the banks of Bull Shoals Lake May 21, he never expected to break a state record, but that’s exactly what happened 45 minutes after he hooked one monster of a striped bass with a rod and reel.
“I fought the giant for over 45 minutes until I got him to shallow water,” Dillman said. “I then bear hugged the fish and got it out of the water on to the bank.”
Dillman’s “pole and reel” record, a striped bass weighing 65 pounds, 2 ounces with a length of 49 3/4 inches and a girth of 36 inches, surpassed the previous record by nearly five pounds. He landed the giant using a 20-pound test line and a chub minnow. After the fish broke Dillman’s own scales, the record was verified by Missouri Department of Conservation staff using a certified scale at the MDC Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery in Taney County. The fish is now being mounted at Bass Pro’s headquarters in Springfield, Mo.
“Once the fish was on the line, I knew I had a decent one, but I didn’t at all think it was a striped bass,” Dillman said. “I thought it was a spoonbill or something else. But when I got him to the bank I knew I had something amazing!”
The behemoth striper is likely one of a group inadvertently stocked in Bull Shoals Lake by Arkansas game officials in the late 1990s and now reaching the end of their lifespans. The stripers have grown to enormous sizes over the years by feeding on threadfin shad in the deep waters of Bull Shoals Lake. In fact, the Missouri striper record was broken in 2008, 2010 and 2011 prior to Dillman’s recent record.