March 13, 2021
By: Jon Stewart
Have you ever been to Ohio?
If the answer is yes—and you’ve never fished for bass in Ohio—you’re missing out!
Ohio features more than 100 public lakes that offer some serious bass fishing opportunities. It’s therefore not shocking that the state has a reputation for being one of the best places to fish in the country.
Between the state’s natural resources and Ohio’s Division of Wildlife, the fish population remains strong. It includes grilled fish, channel fish, rainbow trout, carp, smallmouth, and, you guessed it—largemouth bass. If you are someone who likes largemouth bass, then consider Ohio a top choice due to its abundance of lakes, creeks, and open waters.
If you’re wondering about the story behind Ohio’s state record largemouth bass—you’ve come to the right place!
The biggest largemouth bass ever caught in the state of Ohio weighed an incredible 13.13 pounds. The Ohio state record largemouth measured an impressive 25 1/16 inches long. The fish was caught by Roy Landsberger on May 26, 1976, in a small farm pond located in northeastern Ohio.
Pictured below is 25-year-old Landsberger, with his incredible catch:
On the night he broke the record, Landsberger went fishing alone, as he did almost every night that spring. Landsberger used an antique Bache Brown Spinster reel manufactured by Lionel Train Company, and a red fishing rod that his mother bought him with S&H Green Stamps.
The pond where Landsberger caught the monster tapers from 2 feet at the edge of a dam to approximately 12 feet at the bottom of the dam. As the sun began to fall, Landsberger made his way up to the river bank and threw an Arbogast Jitterbug—which was spotted and yellow and black in color—into the water. After sunset, darkness crept in and Landsberger wasn’t having much luck. He decided to make one final cast to end his day.
Landsberger reeled in the Jitterbug one last time, when suddenly, right under his feet, came an enormous fish that took the jitterbug in no time.
“It hit right as I was about to lift the lure out of the water. Because it hit so close and it was pretty dark out, I couldn’t tell right away what kind of fish it was. I was using a 12-pound line, and it was pulling line from my drag quickly, so I knew it was big,” explained Landsberger.
The fish plunged into the deep water and Landsberger displayed expertise by turning the fish towards the shallows. Though Landsberger was seemingly making progress on landing the fish, the monster largemouth wasn’t ready to give up, and made a second attempt to reach deep water.
It was around this time that Landsberger said the fish surfaced for the first time. He saw the fish open its mouth, and knew—for the first time—that it was a big largemouth bass.
He saw this as a golden opportunity and was not ready to let this one get away. He walked into the water, wading up to his knees. He got close enough to the fish, where he reached down and lipped the giant, bringing it to shore.
Roy’s bass was eventually weighed using certified scales and verified by numerous witnesses at 13.13 pounds. Yet despite the weight being certified, there was some remaining skepticism.
The largemouth bass was simply too large to be considered ‘normal’ in the state of Ohio. Some believed the fish derived from Florida, having different DNA than the typical strain of largemouth bass from Ohio.
To settle the situation, the fish was brought to the Fish Division at The Ohio State University for genetic testing. Finally, almost one year after the fish was caught, the results came in: Landsberger’s largemouth bass was native to Ohio. The rest is history, as the monster largemouth remains a record to this day.
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