11-Year-Old Lands 13-Pound Bass, Makes Texas History

by Vern Evans

The Oklahoma fifth grader caught the trophy bass while fishing with his dad on a sprawling reservoir in Central Texas

A young angler holds up a huge Texas largemouth.

Stetson Davis holds up the 13.31-pound largemouth bass he caught on March 6. Photograph by Brodey Davis

Following closely in his father’s footsteps, 11-year-old Stetson Davis is already getting recognized for boating lunker bass. On March 6, the young angler from Oklahoma went fishing with his dad on J.B. Thomas Reservoir in Texas, where he caught a 13-pound largemouth that broke the junior lake record and was just a half-pound shy of the all-time lake record. The two submitted the trophy bass to the state’s ShareLunker program, making Stetson one of the youngest anglers to ever do so.

“It was about 9 a.m. when we spotted a huge bass suspended in 15 feet of water with our Garmin LiveScope sonar,” Stetson’s dad, Brodey Davis, tells Outdoor Life. “We could see the fish on the Garmin, and Stetson cast to it multiple times, but it wouldn’t hit.”

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Using a baitcaster and 20-pound test fluorocarbon line, Stetson made about 20 casts to the fish before he got a response. Brodey says that with the dark color of the lake, he knew his son would have to put his lure right on the fish’s nose. Stetson finally got the right cast and retrieved his swimbait, a 6th Sense Whale, within inches of the suspended bass.

“I watched the sonar screen as I retrieved the lure within a few inches of the bass, and I saw the fish take the bait,” Stetson says. “It didn’t strike hard. It just kind of gulped it down, then I set the hook hard.”

The water boiled as the fish jumped twice and shook its head.

“I thought the bass might throw the lure during those wild jumps,” Brodey says. “But there was no weight in the lure other than the 6/0 hook. So Stetson had the bass at the boat in less than a minute. I netted it when it came up beside the boat a third time.”

Stetson says his dad did a good job netting his 13-pounder. He would know, too, since he’s already netted a few trophy fish for the old man.    

“I’m a better net man than my dad,” says Stetson, who plays outfield on his Little League team. “I netted Dad’s 17-pounder that he caught on lake O.H. Ivie two years ago. And that fish is still the lake record bass.”

“That fish” weighed 17.06 pounds to be precise. In addition to being the seventh biggest largemouth bass ever recorded in Texas, it’s still an all-tackle record for the water body, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department — which is a serious accomplishment given the location. O.H. Ivie has been kicking out some huge fish recently and last year, Bassmaster named it the best bass lake in America.

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Brodey also submitted that 17-pounder to TPWD’s ShareLunker program, which has been wildly successful since its inception in the late 1980s. The trophy fish program recognizes anglers who catch bass weighing more than 8 pounds. During the spawning period between January and March, TPWD also collects 13-plus-pound bass from willing anglers and awards them “Legacy” status. These bass are then spawned in captivity so their offspring can be released into other Texas lakes.

With his catch on March 6, Stetson became the 11th angler to be awarded “Legacy” status so far this year. His fish was the 661st to be accepted into the program to date, according to TPWD. State officials are checking their records to determine if Stetson is the youngest angler in state history to be recognized for catching a 13-plus-pound bass. There’s also a chance that he and Brodey are the first father-son duo to contribute trophy fish to TPWD’s Legacy ShareLunker program.  

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Since Brodey had called in a lunker before, he knew just what to do after they netted Stetson’s 13-pounder. He says a state fisheries official met them at the boat ramp in no time, where they recorded an official weight of 13.31 pounds and then loaded the bass into a live tank on a trailer. Brodey says they’re having a replica mount made of Stetson’s 13-pound bass, which they’ll display right beside his 17-pounder on the wall.

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