Former FLW Tour pro Stephen "Bub" Tosh had a shot at becoming the new spotted bass lake-record holder at California's Lake Oroville, but he said he released the giant fish he caught during practice for this week's Western EverStart and told no one other than this father (ex-tour pro Steve Tosh Sr.) about it until the day-1 weigh-in.
Tosh said the bruiser inhaled his 8 1/2-inch Huddleston swimbait on his fourth cast Tuesday morning. He said he weighed it three times on his Berkley hand-held scale and it registered 8-13 twice and 8-15 the other time. The Oroville record is 8-02.
Tosh, the owner of Paycheck Baits, said he immediately called his father and asked for advice as to what he should do. After a brief consultation, he turned the fish loose to prevent the details of the catch from spreading among the other EverStart competitors.
"If I'd have brought it in, everybody in the tournament would've been out there throwing the Hud this morning," he said Thursday afternoon. "I was trying to keep that from happening."
He might've been the only competitor heaving a Huddleston early on day 1, but it didn't do him any good. He didn't get a single bite on it in 4 hours and had to scramble around later in the day to catch a run-of-the-mill limit that left him in a tie for 43rd place in the 115-angler field.
Ironically, his sack weighed 8-13 – the exact number that the single practice fish had scaled.
He said he practiced alone on Tuesday and was handicapped in his quest to get a decent picture of the fish with his cell phone. You can click the photo to see a larger version.
"Now I wish I'd brought it in and had it weighed on the certified scale," he said. "I ended up not catching them anyway, and at least I'd have the record."
The California state record, which is also the world record, is 10-04.