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No reproduction of any kind.
City angler sets new smallmouth record fishing club tournament
Kansas Department of
Wildlife & Parks
On Aug. 15, Jason Heis of Salina was competing
in his local bass club's tournament at Milford Reservoir when
he got the surprise of his life. It was about noon - not the
ideal time to catch fish in mid-August, but it was an unusually
cool summer and a relatively cool day.
Heis was determined. After fishing different parts
of the lake with little luck, he maneuvered his boat about 30
feet from the dam and began casting into the 2-foot deep water
near the rocks.
His determination paid off when something hammered
the 4-inch plastic worm he was working through the water. That
"something" would be a new state record smallmouth
"I got to the dam, and I just started smokin'
'em," Heis recalls. "I had caught about six or eight
fairly small fish, and then 'Bam,' that one hit hard. My partner
helped me land the fish with a net. I was a little bit dumbfound
to see a smallmouth of that size off the dam in August."
Heis knew he had something special immediately, but he also faced
"He went off my 22-inch measuring board, so
I knew from previous fish I had caught and weighed that I had
a potential state record. But there were still three hours left
in the tournament, so I had to make the decision whether to continue
fishing or head back to the dock and weigh the fish. I decided
to continue fishing because I wanted to win the tournament, but
it was killing me. I kept checking the livewell every 10 minutes
to make sure it was okay."
When the anxious three hours passed, Heis rushed
to the weigh-in site and found that the 6.687-pound bronzeback
was, indeed, a new state record. Fisheries biologist John Reinke
was called in to confirm the record, and an application was sent
to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. After the department's
waiting period, the fish was confirmed as a new record smallmouth.
Because of the quality of smallmouth at Milford
and Wilson reservoirs, both fairly close to Salina, Heis has
been pursuing them specifically in recent years. "I really
started to get a preference for smallmouth because our club fishes
Wilson and Milford so often," he explained.
This preference paid off in spades on Aug. 15;
Heis not only caught a state record, but he won the tournament,
"I put this above hitting a hole-in-one,"
Heis declared. "Lots of guys have hit holes-in-one, but
to win a tournament and set a state record in one day - that's
The previous state record smallmouth also came
from Milford. It was caught by Jimmy Gilreath in 1997 and weighed
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