Last Friday evening, I was fishing in my favorite shallow water lake in Medford, New Jersey. Since the water is only five or six feet at its deepest in most of the lake, the bass are generally smaller. The biggest I've caught in that lake is a little more than five pounds. Not bad for a suburban lake surrounded by houses.

I've heard stories of bigger fish in the lake but dismissed them as nothing more than fishermen's tales. We're all guilty once in a while. So this evening was no different than all the others I've fished there. It was about a half hour before sunset. Perfect time for big bass to bite, hanging near the shoreline. After I threw my lure, I let it sit on the bottom for a few seconds. When I went to retrieve it I thought I was caught on a log on the bottom. Then the log moved. Then it jumped out of the water.

It was so big, I thought I had inadvertently hooked a beaver. Yeah, there are beavers in this lake and when they smack the water with their tail it makes the loudest splash. By the time this thing jumped out of the water a second time, I could see it was a monster bass. Your heart starts racing and you just want to make sure you don't lose "the big one". I got it up to the boat and when its head came out of the water, I was a little apprehensive to stick my hand in its mouth to pull him out. My whole hand could easily fit into his mouth without even touching the sides!

Dennis Malloy photo

When I got it on the deck, I could see that I hooked him perfectly in the upper lip, minimizing any damage to the fish. I weighed him with my hand-held scale at just over 8 lbs. 2 oz. and released him back to his watery home. Also pictured here is the lure I was using. The state record is not that far off at 10lbs. 14 oz. caught in Millville, Cumberland County in 1980. This was close enough and a thrill enough for me. If you don't fish, you don't get it and I completely understand. But if you do fish, I hope you get that feeling sooner rather than later!

Dennis Malloy photo

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