A Broken Arrow college student caught an eight-pound, one-and-a-half-ounce smallmouth bass Wednesday at Lake Eufaula that fell only an ounce and half short of matching the current state record.
James Elam, 20 and a sophomore at OSU, was fishing near the Porum Landing around 2 p.m. March 21 when he reeled in the lunker on a homemade plastic lure. That was after he had already reeled in a six-pound smallmouth at 7:45 a.m. that morning.
Elam said he caught the huge bass by fishing deep over ledges. If the big bass had eaten one more meal that day before being hooked, it would likely have gone down in the record books. The fish fell just shy of the state record smallmouth, an eight-pound, three-ounce fish caught out of Eufaula March 4, 2006 by Steve McLarty, also from Broken Arrow.
“I’m pretty happy about catching the fish,” Elam said, and he wasn’t too worried about it not becoming the new record. “Either way, it’s the biggest smallmouth I have ever caught.”
With two of the largest smallmouth bass in state history pulled from its waters, Eufaula is proving itself as a well-established trophy fishery. The east-central Oklahoma lake saw its first stocking of smallmouths in 1992 by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Home to a self-sustaining population of reservoir strain smallmouths that originated in Tennessee, the lake is also a great destination for white bass and black bass anglers.
Other popular state smallmouth fisheries include Texoma, Skiatook, Lawtonka and Broken Bow lakes. Many of the state’s rivers and streams hold large populations of smallmouth as well, though not the reservoir strain that reaches record sizes.
As for Elam, he will keep on fishing for smallmouths, and he might just land the next record. “I’ve got a lifetime to catch another one,” Elam said.
Photo Credit: Steve Burge, Southeast Region Information Specialist for the Wildlife Department. Story compliments of the Wildlife Department.