State record bass caught

By Bill Bartusek

A new state record bass, eight pounds, 15 ounces. I got a call last Monday about the big bass from my son, Joe. He happens to be good friends with Shane Raveling, the son of Mark Raveling, who caught the big fish last month on Auburn Lake. I couldn't believe what I had heard. For those of you that are not big bass fanatics like me, it's not a big issue. For me it is. I have been chasing bass since 1975. I caught a lot of big fish in my years including several fish over six pounds. I have seen my share of seven pounders, but a fish weighing eight pounds, 15 ounces is huge! This fish eclipsed the old record by a mere three ounces - that's close! I once lost a tournament on Minnetonka by two ounces. Afterwards, while cleaning my boat after the contest I found a five ounce sunfish that had been regurgitated by one of the bass I had weighed in. I could have won! Another issue we have to consider is the growing season here in Minnesota, it is very short. Bass in our state don't live that long. By the time most bass here reach six or seven pounds, their life is about over. Once they reach this age they start to lose weight and they die. This fish that Mark caught may have been very old. It probably reached this weight just weeks ago and would never weigh that much again. As luck would have it, Mark caught this fish during its optimum weight and age.

Mark and I have known each other for over 20 years. I'm glad he caught the fish because he earned it. He spends all his extra time fishing for bass. I would have liked to have seen the fish and Mark but by the time I was able to get away, Mark and the fish were headed for Brainerd where the fish was on display.

Unfortunately, the fish died this past weekend, so I will not have the opportunity to see this record-breaker alive.

With our expanding population and increased pressure on the fish population this may never happen again. My only regret is that I didn't catch the record fish myself. I'm extremely happy for Mark and I wish him the best.

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