Lunker: 10 pounds, 3 ounces (largemouth)
I found her the last day of practice in some thick eelgrass in Lake George. They scoop out a bed in the thickest stuff they can find on that river. You can usually see the white circle before you ever see the fish. It really stands out.
The minute I saw her, I knew she was a giant. I knew where I'd be headed on Thursday. The area was crowded with boats that morning, and the water was less than 2 feet deep so I had to approach her carefully with a push pole. I didn't want to spook her. I stayed about 20 yards away when I was casting to her for the same reason.
It took me about 40 minutes to catch her. My technique was to cast my bait about 20 feet past her bed and then drag it back through the grass. When I got it into the bed I'd work it around, sometimes hopping it up and hitting her on the head or the body to make her angry. Other times, however, I'd just let it lay and shake it a little bit in place. That's what I was doing when she took the bait.
I used a Texas rigged Zoom Ultra-Vibe Speed Craw in junebug red. My hook was a 5/0 TroKar Flippin' Hook with a 3/8-ounce Jethro Bait Mfg. Co. black tungsten weight. I threw it with an extra-heavy, 7-foot, 6-inch Duckett Micro Magic rod. I used 20-pound-test McCoy fluorocarbon line spooled on a Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Signature Series Reel (6.4:1 gear ratio).
The key factor in my getting her to bite was having the patience to do things right. You can't get in a hurry with a fish that big.
1. Never use your electric motor when big fish are on the beds in shallow grass. It'll tear up the vegetation, create a lot of racket and eventually make it almost impossible to catch her. It's a hassle to use a push pole, but it's the only way I know to move a boat quietly through shallow water.
2. You must stay away from the bed. Twenty yards is a long distance to cast to a bed, but it keeps the boat away from everything and doesn't make the bass nervous. I can tell you that had I moved in on this one I never would have caught her.
3. Don't get in a hurry. I made a lot of casts to that bed before she finally picked up my bait. That didn't bother me. I knew she was big, and I'd made up my mind to do everything right and take as long as necessary to catch her.
Oh, one more thing: I lost one bigger than her the same day in the same area.