Celebrating the one that didn’t get away

John Liechty

Recently, I told a tale of heartache and pain; the cliche story of, “The one that got away.” Well, fortunately, just a short week later, redemption was claimed. Not at the end of my line, but at the end of one of my client’s lines, which, for me, is twice as rewarding.

It was yet another cold and wet morning, as so many have been lately, and was going to be a day for diehards only. Luckily, I had a trip with Jeb Bunker and Luke Diener, who had both been recently fishing in the adverse conditions. We were off to fish Don Pedro Reservoir to practice for an upcoming event and to try and hook into a trophy-sized bass.

After a long drive, we arrived at the reservoir, launched the boat and began to fight the elements. The wind was howling and the boat was rocking side-to-side. Knowing that it would be difficult to fish patiently, we decided to just stick to the giant lures and hope for greatness. We made multiple casts in an area that would be sure to produce a monster, but failed to tempt one into biting.

The waves were crashing into the sides of the boat and it became more of a struggle than it was worth. Time for a move. We decided to settle back into an area that was more protective and had a just a slight breeze. This decision would prove to be one for the books. With low light conditions, a light drizzle and a little chop on the water, we proceeded to cast, occasionally alternating baits. We had our first couple of bites, but neither of them stuck.

Celebrating the one that didn’t get away

Luke Diener shows off his 10-pound, 7-ounce catch while fishing with John Liechty at Don Pedro Reservoir.

It was time to make a key color change and within minutes, had yet another tick at the end of the line. The feeling of, “It’s about to happen,” was felt across the boat. It was only a matter of time, when all of a sudden, Jeb set the hook and shouted, “Fish on.”

As I scrambled for the net he said, “This is a big one, big fish, big fish.”

The massive fish jumped and wallowed with the bait shaking violently in its mouth, and time stood still as we all simultaneously gasped. It was just out of reach of the net and the fight continued. After a couple of hard-digging pulls, Jeb hoisted the fish toward the surface and perfectly into the net.

We knew we had just boated a true giant. Jeb stated, “Oh my god, biggest bass of my life. Thank you, John.”

His previous personal best was 9 pounds, 15-ounces, and he knew that this one was bigger. We put the fish on the scale and it topped out at 10 pounds, 7-ounces. We had done it. Jeb is now a proud member of the elite double-digit bass club.

The excitement could be heard (literally) across the lake, as another boat came by a few minutes later and someone asked, “How big?” We replied, “Ten pounds,” with sheer joy running through our blood.

We took a short video and capture the true excitement of landing a fish of this magnitude. Many anglers have fished a lifetime for these rare giants and after hard work, presentation and persistence, it is a great honor to be a part of the this Xperience. Congratulations, Jeb, on landing this fish of a lifetime!

John Liechty is the owner of Xperience Fishing Guide Service in Angels Camp. Contact John at 743-9932 or xperiencefishing.net.

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