“It was just dumb luck,” he said. “I was approaching the dock where I had seen some monster bass last week, and I had a phone call from Gene [Estabrook] (manager at East County Bait and Tackle). I tossed the swimbait toward the dock and let it fall on slack line with one hand while I was messing with my phone in the other. I missed the call, called him back, got no answer, and then received a text from another angler that I was replying to. At this time, I had drifted closer to the dock, and looked down to see a giant bass gliding out to deep water under me. I noticed my line was also out in deeper water at this point, so I picked up the slack and felt a little resistance. Thinking I was stuck in some grass on the bottom, I gave it a little tug with one hand to pop it free and felt it tug back. Then a second later my rod was almost ripped out of my hand.”
“I don’t know if she ate it on the fall, or while it was just sitting on the bottom, but she choked it down. She had it folded in half in the back of her mouth when I landed her.”
In between the hookup and landing the fish, there were some exciting moments, as expected with a bass this size. “When I realized what had just happened, she jumped and thats when my knees started to shake and all motor functions shut down. I was really happy she stayed on and fit in the net,” he added.
While luck played a part in this catch, this isn’t the only big bass Hanold has got out of Miramar recently. He also caught and released a 13 pound 14 ounce bass last Wednesday (also pictured in the gallery below). As he mentioned in our interview last week, he has over 150 bass over 10 pounds to his credit, a product of dedication to the craft and growing up in San Diego, one of the world’s top destinations for trophy largemouth bass.
Miramar has been kicking out big bass all year for anglers throwing big trout imitating swimbaits. The biggest bass caught this year up until today was Jay Saberon’s 16.2 bass he caught in early January, also at Miramar on a Huddleston swimbait.
The resumed trout stockings by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife have really pumped new life into the trophy bass fishery at Miramar. What was once one of the premier lake’s in the world for giant 19+ pound bass (5 of the top 25 bass of all time were caught at Miramar), had its bass population shrink in stature when trout plants ceased several years back. But the trout plants the last two seasons have pumped new life into this fishery, again fattening up some of the biggest framed bass in the world.
Hanold is also a successful tournament angler and operates his own guide service; Southern California Fishing Adventures. On the strength of a top 5 finish in the 2013 US Open, and a win at the WON Bass Lake Havasu Pro/AAA tournament last spring, Justin finished the 2013 season as the #1 ranked tournament angler in San Diego. For more information on Hanold or his guide service, visit his website or give him a call at 858.254.9215.