A popular pastime in Michigan is fishing for bass. This is something that can be done year around as a catch and release activity, but the actual bass season where the option exists to keep your catch runs later in the year. More specifically, catch and keep runs from the third Saturday in June through the end of the year for Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River and the Detroit River. All other waters have a catch and keep season that runs from the Saturday prior to Memorial Day on through the end of the year. Regardless of your fishing location, you are sure to have several months of good bass fishing, as angler Greg Gasiciel can attest.
In 1906, a smallmouth bass record was set in the state of Michigan. That record has held its place for quite some time–109 years to be exact. Although that record holder, W.F. Shoemaker, had a good run with a fish caught in Long Lake in Cheboygan County weighing 9.25 pounds and measuring 27.25 inches, Greg Gasiciel was able to best that fish for a new state record.
On Sunday, October 18th of 2015, Greg Gasiciel reeled in a smallmouth bass weighing 9.33 pounds and measuring 24.50 inches in length. At the time he caught the attention of the record fish, he was bait-casting and using a green grub while fishing in Hubbard Lake in Alcona County. The fish was then verified and new record confirmed by a DNR fisheries biologist by the name of Kathrin Schrouder.
Since this is the sixth fish caught in Michigan this year with state record breaking potential, it is only natural to wonder how you might be able to go about committing your own name to the record books. First of all, you’re going to need to catch a fish that lives up to the title and smallmouth bass are a good species for which to aim. They are plentiful throughout Michigan and tend to be found in rocky habitats and rivers. If you prefer largemouth bass, those are around, too, but tend to stay in the shallows where weeds are present. However, both of these bass spawn in the shallows during the spring before heading out to deeper waters although some largemouths opt out of making that trip.
Specific locations in which smallmouth bass fishing is good are Michigan’s Great Lakes, Big and Little Bays de Noc, Grand Traverse Bay, Potagannissing Bay, and Saginaw Bay. It doesn’t stop there, however, as southeastern Michigan is a smallmouth bass hotbed as well as the Lower Peninsula’s norther tier which includes Burt, Leelanau, and Mullet. Though rivers (Kalamazoo and Grand) are good for smallmouth bass, river mouths along Lake Michigan are largemouth friendly. Other good locations for largemouth bass are weedy areas of the Great Lakes, lakes in southern Michigan, and reservoirs such as Fletcher Pond, Kent Lake, and Wixom Lake.
Having taken into consideration the type of fish you wish to pursue and the ideal location, you’re going to need to outfit yourself with the proper gear. The good thing about bass is that they can be easily caught with artificial lures (topwater plugs, bottom-bumpers, diving plugs, swim baits, spoons, spinnerbaits, etc.) but will bite pretty much any live bait you have on hand as well. They are also attracted to flies, frogs, mice, etc. and once they bite are a blast to real in, fighting all the way.
Once you’ve got a fish on the line that you’re sure is a record breaker, you are going to want to have DNR contact info at the ready. The reason for this is that a DNR fisheries biologist must positively identify your catch. Michigan state records are based on weight only so keep that in mind and don’t get too hung up on length, although that is nice to brag about as well. All new records must exceed the previous ones and fish must be weighed on a commercial scale, ideally with weight slip provided.
With several new anglers in the record books this year, it is very well possible that the next name could be yours. You can brush up on current records as well as learn how to submit your own here. Good luck and may your next fish be one for the books!