Top 25 biggest largemouth bass ever caught

Manabu Kurita with the biggest bass ever caught, officially
Manabu Kurita with the biggest bass ever caught, officially

Did you know 11 of the top 25 biggest bass of all-time have been caught right here in San Diego County? And of those, 5 were caught at Miramar Reservoir. Only Castaic Lake of Los Angeles County can claim more of the top 25 catches than Miramar. Not surprisingly, March tops the list of months to catch one of the top 25 biggest bass of all time.

Want to see your name on the list like Jed Dickerson, Dave Zimmerlee, Gene Dupras, Mac Weakley and Keith Gunsauls? "All" you have to do is catch a bass weighing more than 19 pounds! The good news? You live in the best county in the world to do it at.



Rank Weight Body of Water Date Angler
1. 22.311 Lake Biwa - Japan July 2nd, 2009 Manabu Kurita
2. 22.25 Montgomery Lake, GA June 2nd, 1932 George Perry
3. 22.063 Castaic Lake, CA March 12th, 1991 Robert Crupi
4. 21.75 Castaic Lake, CA March 5th, 1991 Michael Arujo
5. 21.688 Lake Dixon, CA May 31st, 2003 Jed Dickerson
6. 21.2 Lake Casitas, CA March 4th, 1980 Raymond Easley
7. 21.01 Castaic Lake, CA March 9th, 1990 Robert Crupi
8. 20.938* Miramar Reservoir, CA June 23rd, 1973 Dave Zimmerlee
9. 20.86 Castaic Lake, CA February 4th, 1990 Leo Torres
10. 20.75 Lake Dixon, CA April 27th, 2001 Mike Long
11. 20.25 Lake Hodges, CA May 30th, 1985 Gene Dupras
11. 20.25** Miramar Reservoir, CA March 25th, 1990 Johnny Garduno
13. 20.125 Big Fish Lake, FL May 19th, 1923 Fritz Friebel
14. 19.7 Lake Mission Viejo, CA March 21st, 2006 George Coniglio
15. 19.5 Castaic Lake, CA May 28th, 1990 Mark Balloid
15. 19.5 Lake Casitas, CA April 9th, 2002 Randy Crabtree
15. 19.5 Miramar Reservoir, CA February 29th, 1988 Keith Gunsauls
18. 19.438 Lake Dixon, CA May 20th, 2003 Mac Weakley
19. 19.25 Miramar Reservoir, CA March 22nd, 1998 Chris Brandt
20. 19.188 Lake Wohlford, CA February 3rd, 1986 Steve Beasley
21. 19.188 Lake Morena, CA February 17th, 1987 Arden Hanline Sr.
22. 19.15 Lake Ikehara - Japan April 22nd, 2003 Kazuya Shimada
23. 19.1 Lake Baccarac - Mexico January 17th, 1993 Bruce Knutsen
24. 19.063*** Miramar Reservoir, CA March 14th, 1988 Sandy DeFresco
25. 19.04 Castaic Lake, CA January 8th, 1989 Danny Kadota


Analyzing the list

Totals by State Totals by County
Total State Top Bass Total County Top Bass
19 California 22.063 11 San Diego, CA 21.688
1 Florida 20.125 6 Los Angeles, CA 22.063
1 Shiga Prefecture, Japan 22.311 2 Ventura, CA 21.2
1 Georgia 22.25 1 6 others appear once
1 Nara Prefecture, Japan 19.15      
1 Sinaloa, Mexico 19.10      
Totals by Lake Totals by Decade
Total Lake Top Bass Total Decade Top Bass
6 Castaic Lake, CA 22.063 8 1990s 22.063
5 Miramar Reservoir, CA 20.938 7 2000s 22.311
3 Lake Dixon, CA 21.688 7 1980s 21.2
2 Lake Casitas, CA 21.2 1 3 decades appear once
1 9 lakes appear once

Totals by Month
Total Month Top Bass
7 March 22.063
5 May 21.688
4 February 20.86
3 June 22.25
3 April 20.75
2 January 19.04
1 July 22.311

Disclaimer - This list is unofficial and recognizes catches that were widely considered to be accurate. Catches that lack substantial proof of the bass even existing, or the size of the bass, such as "write-ins" were left off. Catches with unusual circumstances are noted below.

The Asterisk Section:

Any list of the top bass catches of all time is going to have asterisks, even George Perry's 22.25 pound bass that stood as the world record for 77 years didn't necessarily have resounding proof as a product of the era in which it was caught.

* - Dave Zimmerlee's catch was officially recognized as the state record at the time it was caught, which is why it is listed here. However, it should be noted that several people came forward immediately after the catch and claimed to have seen Zimmerlee "scoop" the bass from the water as it floated, dying on the surface. Zimmerlee adamantly denied the allegations. In any case, the bass was verified at 20 lbs 15 ounces, and was the largest in the state at that point.

** - Johnny Garduno's catch fell under similar scrutiny as Zimmerlee's. Witnesses came forward claiming that Garduno used a net to catch his 20 lb 4 oz bass as it swiped at a stringer of trout. As an angler that has spent a lot of time on the water chasing big bass, that claim seems even more outlandish than an angler catching a bass that big by traditional means. Again, in any case, the bass was as big as claimed and verified.

*** - Sandy DeFresco's story is one you're probably already familiar with - yes, this is the diving weight bass. The monstrous bass "originally" weighed 21 lbs 10 oz at the time it was officially weighed, which was a little more than a half-pound short of the world record at the time, but would have been a new state record catch. How the weights, which were discovered at the taxidermy shop, got in the bass are still a mystery. Adding to the intrigue, and allowing for even more creative theories was that DeFresco worked at the lake's concession at the time of the catch. City Lake's Biologist, Larry Bottroff, one of the most respected bass experts in the entire world concluded after examining the bass that the 2.5 lb weight was in the bass for up to 2 weeks, as Bottroff found tissue forming around the weight. The most popular theory is that the bass was the same one caught roughly two weeks earlier by Gunsauls, who was the first to release a bass that big. After its release, someone other than Gunsauls might have obtained the fish, added the weight, and kept it captive within the lake for two weeks until claiming a new catch. However, there is no proof of that, and DeFresco was credited with the weight of the bass, minus the weight.

Last modified on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 23:20