World’s 25 Biggest Largemouth Bass Ever Caught

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  • 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, five were caught at Miramar Lake. Only Castaic Lake in Los Angeles County can claim more top-25 catches.

    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. InΒ San Diego, the dream of catching the world record bass can become a reality on any cast.

    RankWeightBody of WaterDateAngler
    1.22.311Lake Biwa - JapanJuly 2nd, 2009Manabu Kurita
    2.22.25Montgomery Lake, GAJune 2nd, 1932George Perry
    3.22.063Castaic Lake, CAMarch 12th, 1991Robert Crupi
    4.21.75Castaic Lake, CAMarch 5th, 1991Michael Arujo
    5.21.688Lake Dixon, CAMay 31st, 2003Jed Dickerson
    6.21.2Lake Casitas, CAMarch 4th, 1980Raymond Easley
    7.21.01Castaic Lake, CAMarch 9th, 1990Robert Crupi
    8.20.938*Miramar Reservoir, CAJune 23rd, 1973Dave Zimmerlee
    9.20.86Castaic Lake, CAFebruary 4th, 1990Leo Torres
    10.20.75Lake Dixon, CAApril 27th, 2001Mike Long
    11.20.25Lake Hodges, CAMay 30th, 1985Gene Dupras
    11.20.25**Miramar Reservoir, CAMarch 25th, 1990Johnny Garduno
    13.20.125Big Fish Lake, FLMay 19th, 1923Fritz Friebel
    14.19.7Lake Mission Viejo, CAMarch 21st, 2006George Coniglio
    15.19.5Castaic Lake, CAMay 28th, 1990Mark Balloid
    15.19.5Lake Casitas, CAApril 9th, 2002Randy Crabtree
    15.19.5Miramar Reservoir, CAFebruary 29th, 1988Keith Gunsauls
    18.19.438Lake Dixon, CAMay 20th, 2003Mac Weakley
    19.19.25Miramar Reservoir, CAMarch 22nd, 1998Chris Brandt
    20.19.188Lake Wohlford, CAFebruary 3rd, 1986Steve Beasley
    21.19.188Lake Morena, CAFebruary 17th, 1987Arden Hanline Sr.
    22.19.15Lake Ikehara - JapanApril 22nd, 2003Kazuya Shimada
    23.19.1Lake Baccarac - MexicoJanuary 17th, 1993Bruce Knutsen
    24.19.063***Miramar Reservoir, CAMarch 14th, 1988Sandy DeFresco
    25.19.04Castaic Lake, CAJanuary 8th, 1989Danny Kadota

    DisclaimerThis 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.

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    Kristi Murphy

    Don’t think you can accurately report on big bass fishing in San Diego without mentioning Lunker Bill Murphy. He was a true bass fishing legend and hometown hero…


    How old are these record-breaking lunkers? So sad that they were not released…