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‘Golden’ Largemouth Bass Caught and Released in Arkansas

Golden Largemouth Bass
Photos via Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

An Arkansas fisherman didn't realize how rare catching this golden largemouth bass really was, and released it to swim another day.

According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC), the golden largemouth bass caught by Josh Rogers last week in Beaver Lake is about as rare as they come.

Rogers was casting a swim jig May 23 when he hooked into a bass with uncommon coloration. AGFC biologist Jon Stein said the golden-hued bass was similar to hitting the jackpot in a Vegas casino. "Josh needs to buy a lottery ticket, because he caught one fish in a million," he said.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Arkansas Wildlife Magazine talked to Rogers about the fish, and about what he was thinking as he reeled it in.

"I had two thoughts when I caught it," the Bentonville angler said. "The midlake area on down is uncharacteristically muddy now, and I know that bass get light-colored when they are in the mud. But when I looked at the mouth and gills, I wondered if he was sick. My buddy I was fishing with said, 'Surely it's not something he's eating that would turn him that color.'"

In fact, it was a genetic anomaly, which Stein explained. "The unusual bass has what is known as Xanthochromism, which is the loss of darker pigment with the pigmentation replaced with yellow," he said. "This is very rare and does occur naturally."

Like he often does, Rogers released the bass after snapping pictures, hoping someone would have an answer after viewing photographic evidence.

"I didn't think anything about it for an hour and a half of fishing. Then I started sending pictures to friends and putting it on Instagram and Facebook, and from the reaction of everybody, I started thinking, 'Maybe I shouldn't have thrown it back.' I was surprised it caused such a reaction from people."

Rogers said the fish was 16 inches long and, post-spawn, would equate to about 2 pounds. He still intends on having a replica mount of the golden fish made based on the photos. He said he fishes Beaver Lake two to four times a week.

NEXT: BASS FISHING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

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‘Golden’ Largemouth Bass Caught and Released in Arkansas