The big one he let swim away

Wow, what a year for big fish and big fish stories.

I’ve gotten at least four calls or e-mails on potentially huge fish that haven’t panned out. This week I blogged on how a reported 100 pound buffalo turned out to be a grass carp of about 39 pounds. A white bass of nearly 10 pounds ended up being a wiper.

And this morning a local angler called and said he’d caught a 97 pound flathead from the Arkansas River in Wichita. He hasn’t called back with the address where I can come see the fish he said is being kept alive in a big tank.

And then there’s Steve Molina’s big largemouth bass. His e-mail said the fish is 11 pounds, 2 ounces. It very well could be.

Molina and a buddy were fishing a private watershed of about 60 acres in Cowley County on Monday when a big fish hit the chartreuse Sinko worm he was fishing on his last cast of the day.

Steve Molina holds the huge bass he caught in Cowley County on Monday. His scales showed it weighed 11 pounds, 2 ounces.

Steve Molina holds the huge bass he caught in Cowley County on Monday. His scales showed it weighed 11 pounds, 2 ounces.

An avid angler, Molina said his best bass prior to this week was 9 pounds, 2 ounces. When he lifted Monday’s bass he knew it was bigger.

When put on a digital fish scale it first registered 11 pounds, 10 ounces. The second try was a bit lighter. Following attempts put the fish at 11 pounds, 2 ounces. He said he later tried his scales at home with confirmed weights and it was accurate.

Steve and his fishing partner, Chuck Masy, watched the fish swim off after it was placed back into the water.

The current state record is a largemouth of 11.8 pounds caught in 2008 by Tyson Hallam in southeast Kansas. It was 28 1/2 inches long. Molina’s bass was about 27 1/2 inches long. Figuring his bass wasn’t a state record Molina said he elected not to haul the fish from the lake to official scales.

His only photo is from his cell phone and he’s not sure the pic does the fish justice.

“I’m a big guy so that meas it’s bigger than it looks,” he said.

I’ll give him credit, though, the fish obviously stretches about from his arm pit to his waist.

That’s a heck of a good fish.