Here’s a story you don’t hear everyday.
Fred Stepp was fishing Lake Summit in North Carolina when he set hooks into a very likely state record bass. There was period where Stepp was going to keep the fish. However, he decided to let it go with nothing but a picture. The reason why he did it shows just how much a true fisherman this angler really is.
While pre-fishing for an upcoming tournament, once Stepp landed this enormous spotted bass, he put it in his livewell and called the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to make things official. However, while waiting for a return phone call, he noticed the bass was starting to struggle. It was then that Stepp decided that keeping the fish alive was worth more than a record and released the fish back into the lake, however, not before getting it’s digits. He knew it was likely the record but just wanted to know for himself before letting it go.
Measuring out to 27.75 inches long and 10.3 pounds, it would have easily crushed the old spotted state record bass of just over six pounds.
“It was a little bit of a tough decision, but what it came down to was that I’d rather have that fish’s genetics continue in the lake than set a new state record” Stepp said in an interview. “It would have been nice if I could have had it certified, and released the fish, but I knew if I kept it much longer, it would die. The most important thing to me was releasing the fish alive, so that’s what I did.”
No doubt about it, this fish story at least has a picture of one huge spotted bass to back it up.