"I thought it was a log with a volleyball under it!"
A largemouth bass caught in Florida came awfully close to breaking the state record last week.
Dominic Montalto's 16-pound, 12-ounce, pot-bellied lunker came out of a private pond near Estero in Lee County. The monster fish is the biggest caught in Florida this year, although it falls a little short of the 17-pound, 4-ounce state record.
Still, who wouldn't want to catch a bass this big? The 19-year-old Florida Gulf Coast University student did a bit of a double-take when he first spotted it.
"When I first saw the fish, I thought it was a log with a volleyball under it - until it moved," Montalto said in a press release. "Once I realized it was a big bass, I started targeting it and just kept trying until it took the bait."
As you can see from the photos, that's a very fitting description of the fish!
The bait it eventually took was a XPS Z9R Perch swimbait in a bluegill color right around dusk. The FWC later verified the catch and said the fish has taken over first place in the State's Trophy Catch program. The program helps FWC biologists in collecting data on big largemouths that helps them better manage the fisheries.
It also hands out prizes to anglers who catch a bass weighing 13 pounds or more. Montalto is now eligible for the program's hall of fame club with this catch.
Considering the size of this behemoth of a fish, it'll probably be a tough one to beat out for heaviest catch this year!