"Bayou Bill" Scifres
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New Fish Record Set
Copyright © 2006 by Bill Scifres

A Terre Haute angler has broken one of the longest-standing fish records of the state with a 5-pound-5-ounce spotted bass. Larry Hinesley, Jr. holds the new record. John William Poe, who held the old record, posted a 5-pound, 1 1/2 - ouncer in 1975 in Howard County.

On May 24 Hinesley was fishing a private lake in Vigo County when he spotted the state’s largest spotted bass. But the fish would not take his bait. It is difficult to take fish you can see.

He changed to every bait he had, but the fish refused them all. Finally, in desperation, Hinesley switched to a live night crawler and the big fish hit it.

“I was talking to my line (10-pound test) all the time . . . I was saying don’t break . . . don’t break.”  The fight lasted about five or six minutes.

Hinesley became familiar with spotted bass--a species often mistaken for largemouth bass--some three weeks earlier when he caught a three-pounder from the same lake. That fish made him realize there may be a buster of the species in the lake. After catching the 5-pounder, he called his brother-in-law to verify the fish’s identity.

The spotted bass looks very much like a largemouth--including the lateral line. But it also has many  diamond-shaped splotches of black on the upper half of the body. The dorsal fin is divided in spiny (forward) and unspiny (after) sections like the largemouth. Still, spotted bass, often are mistaken for other bass.

Still another identification mark bass mark is the position of the eye to a vertical line of the jaw hinge. The vertical line of the jaw hinge runs behind the eye of the largemouth, through the center of the eye of the smallmouth, and through the back part of the eye in the spotted. But the spotted still is often mistaken. 

Bill James, chief of the Fisheries Division for more than 30 years, says the spotted bass once was believed to be a hybrid between largemouth and smallmouth before it was definitely identified as a separate species.

The late Woody Fleming, then the director of the DFW, and I took turns setting the state record for spotted bass one afternoon on an embayment of the Ohio River. The DFW had just included spotted bass in it’s record program. Each of us set the record several time, but neither of us entered our fish.

We were catching them on artificials. They were known as Kentucky bass. A two-three pound spot is a good one. Five pounds is stretching it, but larger fish do occur.

Early Migrating Bird Season Dates 

The DFW has announced the season dates and bag-possession limits for early migrating birds. They are, by species:

Sora Rail--Sept. 1 to and including Nov.  9. 25 daily bag and possession.
Mourning Doves—Sept. 1 to Oct. 15, and Nov 10 to Nov. 24. 15 and 30.
Woodcock—Oct. 14 to Nov. 27. 3 and 6.
Common Snipe—Sept. 1 to Dec. 16. 8 and 16. 
Blue, Green-wing Teal Only--Sept. 1 to Sept. 16.   4 and 8.
Canada Goose Only --Sept. 1 to Sept. 15.  5 and 10.

Notes: No season was set for common moorhen (gallinules), king, clapper or Virginia rail. Teal and early-season goose hunting is not allowed at Kankakee State Fish and Wildlife Area. Hovey Lake 

FWA does not allow early-season goose hunting. Several state areas require non-toxic shot for dove fields. Check state properties for special regulations for these species. Regular waterfowl dates and regulations have not been set.

DNR Receives Great Blue Heron Award 

The Department of Natural Resources is to get The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ Great Blue Heron Award for its part in the acquisition of Goose Pond, the new Fish and Wildlife Area in southwestern Indiana, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Garrison at Fort Harrison State Park. Goose Pond has been sought by conservationists for many years. 


All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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