It is fairly common knowledge among serious freshwater anglers that California dominates the list of largemouth bass legally taken and officially weighed with more than 70 percent of the all-time heaviest largemouths being caught in California.
It is a lesser known fact that California has also produced the heaviest smallmouth bass caught in the United States in recent years – a 9 pound 13.5 ounce giant taken from Lake Pardee near the central California coast. In the last few years Pardee has given up other jumbo smallmouths weighing at least 9 pounds.
To be fair, Lake Pardee has a close rival when it comes to producing giant smallmouths and that is Dworshak Reservoir in southwest Idaho. In recent years, Dworshak has given up several smallmouths weighing at least 9 pounds with the heaviest weighing 9 pounds 11.5 ounces. Dworshak and Pardee currently hold the state recors for smallmouth bass for Idaho and California respectively.
That alone should put California first when it comes to producing jumbo bass, but where California really stands out is when it comes to producing jumbo spotted bass.
The “non-California” world record for spotted bass is an 8 pound 15 ounce fish – a former world record holder from Alabama. However, California has about a dozen waters that have produced spotted bass weighing at least 9 pounds including three that have given up spots weighing ten pounds (Pine Flat, Whiskeytown and New Melones).
In fact, during the first week of March, Bullards Bar Reservoir had a terrific bite by jumbo spotted bass where numerous fish weighing from seven to more than 9 pounds were taken.
When it comes to producing record class bass, whether it be largemouth, smallmouth or spotted – California is in a class by itself.