Wes Roberson just broke a world record with a spotted bass, and he has an equally comedic and awesome story to accompany the catch as well. The previous record holder actually drove 3.5 hours to come out and make sure it was certified and documented properly. The record fish was caught in California and officially weighed 11.00-pounds. Wes made a Facebook post about his record fish, and since he told the story so well, we’ll share it here!
Here is my story:
There was no epic battle with climatic finish. There was no bravado, no yelling or touchdown celebrations.
This is a story about two knuckle heads doing voice impersonations while swinging 1lb spots into each other. This is a story about my iPhone dying, very bad cell service, a lot of luck and most importantly my friends rallying around me.
In this story, the Department of Fish and Wildlife went above and beyond their call of their duty to provide guidance to two guys who weren’t prepared for what transpired that day and who didn’t bring enough cold weather gear. This is a story of one leftover Christmas ham sandwich and one pending world record spotted bass.
This story starts back in November. I was originally suppose to get out on the water the last weekend in November up to the lake but my wife Meredith Roberson pulled my yard pass on account of bad behavior and put me on landscaping duty. As a result, I had to reschedule the trip. I will never forget the look on my wife’s face when I showed her the amazing fish that Paul Bailey had caught that weekend. She apologized several times but still didn’t pull me from landscaping duty.
Fast-forward a month later. I finally got back out on the water on December 27, 2015. My former tournament partner, John and I were running late to get up to the Lake; so late that literally we only fished for four hours or so. The day was an uneventful. After about an hour we finally started catching some dinks. We moved spot to spot catching a small fish here and there. About 2:00pm we pull up to a SSDD spot. At that point I mentally kind just checked out. I mean I was full on sitting in the old-man chair, sandwich in one hand jig rod in the other dragging a jig on the back deck. I make a cast and I get bit right away. My drag slips and I boat another dink. I remember that was odd and realized I had not adjusted my drag since my last trip in November.
I adjust the drag and make the same cast. This time my sandwich is in my mouth, water bottle in between my legs and I get bit.
Again my drag slips and now I am like “great, my reel is jack”. I quickly reel up the line and see the color of the fish. I tell John get the net. She made one dive and with four full turns of my reel she was in the net. The whole ordeal was a whooping 8-10 seconds. At this time, I am still grubbing my ham sandwich and John tells me “Hey bud, she is big. She is a Double and might be in contention for the world record.” I stand up and see her and immediately and get his live-well going.
At this point I am concerned about the fish as I do this with all of my big fish. So we get her in the box, I text my friends Steve Pagluighi, Matt Allen of tacticalbassin.com, Matt Leverich, Chris Beck, Dustin Tacker and Glen Underwood for help on what to do. While I am waiting for cell service for my text to go through we hung her on John’s cheap mustad scale and she bounces between 11.4lbs and 11.05lbs. The scale eventually settled at 11.05lbs on the water.
At this point, I remember all the issues Paul had with trying to get his fish submitted. Then I began to worry about what I was going to do because like Paul, I was not willing to kill the fish just for a record. He did the right thing I planned to follow suit.
Just then my phone gets reception and Matt Allen (who was on clear lake) tells me he has two certified scales and that Matt Leverich (who was also on clear lake) was now running across the lake to get the certified scales. This whole time I was pretty much just in shock and I felt bad that Matt Leverich was going to come over 3 hours to meet me. I get off the phone and respond to text from my friends who I reached out to for help and notice my battery is at 10%. I get a text from Glen that Warden Pyrtle is getting off work and he would stop by the lake on his way home. I then get a call from Tim Little who was at home with his then very pregnant wife Tonya and their two children. Tim then offered to come on his day off all the way from clear lake to 3.5 hours away through the snow to meet John and I.
I squeak out one last call to my amazing wife that I won’t be home for dinner. It is now 3:30pm and my phone has died.
We go to the ramp and wait for Warden Pyrtle who arrived at 4pm. He boarded our vessel and checked out the fish. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a certified scale. The reality is it is not part of their job at all. Their job is to protect our California wildlife resources and prevent related crime.
So here we are unprepared on all fronts, in the dark and the temp is dropping into the thirties when we finally see headlight coming down the hill towards the ramp. At this time it had been 4 hours since he left his house. Tim gets out of his car and walks me through everything I needed to do. It as at that point I realized exactly how out of his way he came. He literally left the warm of his home and his family to drive in the snow on his day off 4 hours away to help me, (who he had met twice before) potentially beat his world record. I literally had to say it out loud to him and John for it to set in, for me to realize exactly what a stand up guy he is.
Tim walked me through all the steps that I need to do just to be able to submit the application for my fish for a world record. In the end, she settle at 11.00lbs even on Tim’s certified scale and was released back into the lake. In the end, I was highly unprepared. I have amazing friends who rallied around me to get help when I needed it.
The fish ate a 3/4 oz football jig from Siebert Outdoors in a custom color I had him make. Mike is a great guy who offers a quality jig at a reasonable price and will make any color pattern you request. Check him out at Siebert Outdoors.
The rod was a Dobyns 744c DX paired with tuned 100 Lexa tune by Paul Mctaggart.
I apologized for not responding to people who inquired about my fish several weeks ago. I wasn’t ready at that time to tell my story and I really didn’t plan on telling it today. I will never forget that day and I am ever grateful for what everyone did to helped my very unprepared self. California has some amazing fisheries and I am confident the record will be broken again.