(Mar 23, 2010 Western Outdoor News Release) On Saturday, March 20th, during a US Angler’s Choice Western Rookie League tournament, 20 year old Kyle Gentry of Oakdale caught the fish of a lifetime – an 18.11 pound largemouth. There have been very few fish of this size caught in the world, and this may be the biggest bass ever weighed in during a tournament. The fish had a 28 inch girth and was 30 inches long.
Kyle comes from a fishing family. His parents are John and Shelly Gentry; they both fish competitively and are both well known anglers. Kyle has been fishing tournaments since he was six years old and his parents taught him sportsmanship and the importance of catch-and-release from an early age.
Kyle and his parents share a boat. Kyle had gotten overextended in his finances, and his parents told him he could not go fishing until he caught up with his bills. He had just gotten boat privileges back and managed to scrape up enough money to fish the tournament. Kyle won the tournament with a limit weighing 25 pounds; in addition to his Big Fish winnings, he won $1464. He had enough cash to pay for the entry and to get into the Big Fish option, but he didn‘t have enough money to enter all of the options (which ended up costing him about $1300 dollars in winnings!).
Kyle was fishing about 20 feet deep in the back of a main lake cut. He had tied on a homemade brown/purple jig (hand-tied by family friend Deacon Fernandes) with a cinnamon/purple Yamamoto 5” twin-tail grub as a trailer. He was using 12 pound Vanish line and had the jig in the water, but was not holding the rod. Kyle had stopped fishing to tie on a shaky-head worm on another pole; when he picked up the jig rod to reel the bait in he realized he had a fish on. He started reeling her in and realized what a monster he had when she jumped. When he got her to the boat, she would barely fit in the livewell so he had to take the divider out.
During the tournament, as well as the weigh-in, the big fish was handled with care and treated gently. After weighing her in and taking measurements, Kyle took her right back where he caught her, and released her safely back into Melones. He never considered keeping her for a mount, even though he will probably never see a fish of this size again (and neither will most of the spectators!). We thank Kyle for that. His big bass will be able to spawn and produce more trophy fish for New Melones Lake.