Practice made more than perfect for one South Dakota angler still “in shock” over his July record-making smallmouth bass catch.
Sioux Falls resident Troy Diede landed a 7-pound, 4-ounce smallmouth bass on July 16 at Lake Oahe. It was, of course, in practice fishing for the South Dakota Bass Federation tournament.
According to USA Today, the 36-year-old caught the record-breaking fish with an Eco Pro Tungsten Ned Rig. Diede, who was fishing in his favorite lake since 2008, said he thought the fish was a giant as he reeled it in.
“I put it on the hand-held scale, and it was 6.39 pounds. It was the biggest smallmouth I’ve ever caught,” Diede, who is working to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic, said.
The shock came from Diede not expecting the smallmouth bass in that particular part of the lake. Though thankful for the catch, he took a little ribbing from friends because it was “still smaller than (his) dad’s personal best.”
Bass Angler Made It Look Easy
South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks officials said Diede’s catch was a state record. Officials said he beat it by an ounce.
The 20.75-inch bass came hours after he landed an equally impressive 6-pounder. That came just 20 minutes after he started fishing for the day.
Some anglers make it look easy, huh?
Diede told Bassmaster he made a few casts and got the state-record-winning smallmouth.
“After about 90 seconds, I realized it had the same similarities as that 6-pounder,” he said. “It was fighting the same way. It’s taking me forever.”
Diede was using a 7-pound Gamma line and getting gassed reeling the sucker after a couple of minutes. He didn’t realize how big it was until he cradled it.
“I belly-landed it like a football and held it under my arm, and I was in shock,” he said.
Diede took all the correct precautions on the way to the record. After several unofficial weights, he brought the living fish to a certified scale. When a state biologist confirmed the catch at South Whitlock Resort, he went back and dropped the smallmouth bass back in the lake where he found it.
According to Bassmaster, Diede qualified for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic at Lake Hartwell (Ga.) through the B.A.S.S. Nation. He is competing at the 2021 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Northern Regional at the Upper Mississippi River in La Crosse (Wis.), and he hopes to qualify for the Classic again.
Angler Records For Smallmouth
According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Lyal Held set the previous smallmouth bass record in April 2016. Held was on Horseshoe Lake in northeast South Dakota with a fish that weighed seven pounds and three ounces.
Want to know the all-tackle world record? A Dale Hollow Lake catch in July 1955. According to the International Game Fish Association, the Tennessee fish was an 11-pound, 15-ounce smallmouth bass behemoth.