April 13, 2020
We received a note from Sean Hilgeman, after he uncovered old photographs and a newspaper article about his great grandfather’s curious catch—an uncertified world-record largemouth? “My father always told me about this huge fish, but I had never seen it until those photos were found,” Hilgeman says. “The fisherman was my great grandfather Eugene Fabian. My dad had the photos in a box all these years.”
Local newspaper reports of the time indicate the bass was caught on the evening of August 19, 1963, in DeLand, Florida, on a black worm and Shakespeare rod and reel and 30-pound-test line. The bass was taken home and weighed on a Fairbanks scale and photographed. The big bass was reportedly witnessed by 11 people.
Reports indicate the fish weighed 25 pounds 3 ounces, and was 32 inches long with a 24-inch girth. Notes on the photo also indicate the bass was caught from Cypress Lake in DeLand. To give the bass some size perspective, Hilgeman says his great grandfather was between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall. The bass was never officially certified and was cleaned and eaten, which was common for big fish catches of the time.