New largemouth bass record set in Arkansas

(source: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission) Almost 36 years to the day,Arkansas's largemouth bass state record has finally been broken. On Tuesday,Paul Crowder of Forrest City set the new record on Lake Dunn near Wynne.Crowder's lunker weighed 16 pounds 5 ounces, breaking the old record by just asingle ounce.

Aaron Mardis of Memphis hadheld the state record since March 2, 1976. Mardis' 16 pound 4 ounce fish wascaught on Mallard Lake near Manilla in Mississippi County.

Crowder broke the record onthe afternoon of Feb. 28 using a plastic 6-inch Mann's jelly worm with a bulletsinker and plastic rattle in tequila sunrise. He was using an Enigma rod andreel combo purchased from Bass Pro Shops. Crowder caught the fish on Trilene14-pound test line. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Fisheries Biologist LeeHolt certified the fish on a certified scale at Hayes Market in Wynne.

The fish measured 26 1/2 inchesin length and was 22 3/4 inches in girth. Crowder said that he had been fishingall day for catfish without any luck. "I made a cast and set the rod down totake a look at my catfish rods when I noticed the rod was just about out of theboat," he said. "I was able to grab it just before it went out of the boat," headded. It was the only fish he caught all day.

It only took about eightminutes for Crowder to reel the record into the boat. "I didn't have a net, soit took me five or six tries before I was able to lip it and get in the boat,"he explained.

The 80-acre lake is locatedin Village Creek State Park in Cross County. The AGFC is going to test the fishto see what genetic strain of bass it is, according to Assistant Chief ofFisheries Chris Racey. "We are going to take samples to determine if the fishis a pure northern strain or if it has Florida bass genetics," Racey explained.