Veteran Releases Potential State Record Spotted Bass
John Miles, a veteran from Cleveland, Tenn., had a very special Veteran's Day. That's when Miles caught, and then released, a bass that could have been a potential state record. On top of that, it was also Mile's 72nd birthday.
Miles caught a northern spotted bass, also known as a Kentucky bass, that he said weighed more than six pounds. The current Tennessee state record for northern spotted bass, caught by Chris Coleman in Chickamauga Lake, weighed six pounds and one ounce.
Miles was fishing with partner Tim Hurst.
"When I hooked it, it rolled up on top where I got a look at it and I thought it was a big largemouth," said Miles. "When I finally got it in the net and looked at it I about had a heart attack. I said 'Tim this is a Kentucky bass!"
Miles, a well-known builder of custom fishing rods, caught the fish on the Tennessee River near Moccasin Bend. Miles said he caught it using one of his own custom rods using a a Charlie Brewer's Slider Co. 1 1/2" Slider Grub Swimbait.
Since Miles chose to release the fish, there is no way to know if it could have been certified as a state record or not.
"I looked at it and thought about [trying to certify it]," said Miles. "But I just decided I didn't want to risk killing it for a state record. I don't have an ego about that kind of stuff. We have such a great resource... I just decided to put it back and maybe let someone else catch it."
There are two species of spotted bass in Tennessee -- the native northern variety and a subspecies known as an Alabama spotted bass that have become common in Parksville Lake in Polk County. Biologists have to do a DNA analysis on any potential record spot to verify it's species, or in some cases, spotted bass have been known to hybridize with largemouth bass.
Based upon the photo Miles' fish is a spotted bass and based on where he caught it, was very likely pure or part northern strain.
Even if he opted to release the fish rather than explore a state record, it is a birthday catch to be proud of -- especially for a Marine Corp veteran on Veterans Day.