November 05, 2022
By In-Fisherman Staff
Recent days have generated a lot of excitement and celebration by bass anglers across the North American continent as a legit double-digit smallmouth bass was captured by a passionate bass angler. What’s an even bigger surprise is the mega smallmouth that tipped the scales beyond the 10-pound mark was caught from Lake Erie.
Here’s the story in the words of Gregg Gallagher, the fortunate angler who caught the monumental fish.
“On Nov 3rd, my son Grant and I, both teachers, woke up with a surprise day off due to fog. The flat-calm conditions provided the perfect situation for our Bass Cat boat to travel wherever we desired on the Western end of Lake Erie,” said Gregg Gallagher. “Our goal was to catch a giant smallmouth bass, 7 pounds or better.
“For many years, my son and I primarily chased walleyes, the local popular species. Looking for something different, we spent several years trying a variety of techniques to catch big walleyes by casting and jigging—not with the preferred trolling methods,” he continued. “This eventually led to us spending more time specifically targeting bass. This desire grew even greater when Grant spent four years on the Adrian College Bass team.”
Gregg’s son Grant has spent the countless time scouting, graphing and working on fine tuning the pair’s smallmouth bass-fishing techniques, which all paid off when they located a unique and likely unfished spot.
“With an abundance of baitfish and unique bottom composition located after long days behind the graphs, we dropped down our forward-facing sonar and we were able to individually target these pelagic-esk smallmouth,” he said. “On what turned out to be the most memorable cast of my life, my bait got hit before it even hit the bottom and my rod quickly doubled over. I honestly thought I had hooked into a sheephead and not a smallmouth. We quickly learned we had just caught the smallmouth of a lifetime.”
After quickly weighing the big bass in the boat, the Gallaghers knew the fish was likely of near-record size that would require advice on what to do next in order to register the catch in the record books.
“After a few phone calls and a great amount of help from lifelong friend Ross Robertson of Bigwater Fishing, we needed to get the weight verified on an official scale,” he continued. “We made a few more phone calls and were able to meet Travis Hartman (Lake Erie Fisheries Program Administrator for the Ohio DNR) and take the proper steps to apply for the record.
“Once the legalities and paperwork are finished, it will likely be the new Ontario Province record smallmouth bass, breaking a 68-year record. I think the video of both of us screaming like little kids over what ended up being the largest documented smallmouth ever caught on the Great Lakes says it all!
“Being able to experience this with my son who has become the captain of the boat and a much better fisherman than me, made it even more special.”
After all was all said and done, the official weight was 10.15 pounds and measured 23 3/4 inches in length by 19 3/8 inches in girth. The previous Ontario smallmouth record was a 9.84-pound fish caught by Andy Anderson in September 1954 at Birchbark Lake, near Kinmount, Ont. The Ohio smallmouthg record is held by Randy VanDam, who caught a 9.5-pounder out of Lake Erie in June of 1993.
“A huge thank you goes out to Crown Battery, St. Bonore Financial Services and Clemons Boats/Bass Cat for allowing my son and me to hunt these giant smallmouths prowling the Great Lakes.”