Bass record missed, but not forgotten

by Steve Galea | April 29, 2024
Bass record replica Randy Jennings

When Randy Jennings hooked into a behemoth largemouth bass on Sept, 1, 2014, he knew it was huge, but didn’t realize he might have caught and released an Ontario record. It was only when he toured the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunter’s Mario Cortellucci Hunting and Fishing Heritage Centre and saw a record bass on the wall that he knew his was potentially a record.

The Lindsay-area resident is no stranger to big fish, having been a successful tournament angler. But when this fish latched onto a black jig and pig rig on a Minden-area lake, both he and fishing partner Rick Berkruisen of Cavan were floored.

“We measured in three times on a digital scale and got 10.73 lbs. Then we took a measuring tape to it three times and came out with a length of 25 inches long and 20 inches of girth,” he said.

Randy Jennings with bass

Then, after measuring it, and taking photos, he did what many would consider unthinkable. He released it. Later, he had a replica recreated, and his taxidermist said the photos and length and girth were consistent with a fish in the 10-pound range.

“I felt great about the fish and letting it go,” he said.

Bass record criteria

When he called about getting the fish designated as an Ontario record, he did not meet the criteria.

The current Ontario record largemouth bass was caught by Mario Crysanthou in 1976 on Preston Lake, in the Municipality of York. It weighed 10.43 lbs. and was 22-inches long and 19.5 inches in girth.

When asked about missing the opportunity to have a potential record, he said:

“In my more mature years, I have come to understand that the most memorable times in fishing are not the braggable moments. I was there with Rick. I have come to know that the compilation of these memories make fishing what it is. Whether you think it is a record or not doesn’t matter to me.”

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