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South Dakota State Record Smallmouth

The fish, a female full of eggs, was 19 inches long and had a 19-inch girth.

“I’ve never seen anything so fat. It was so fat its eyes were bulging. It was a freak,” Held said.

Held caught the fish on a swim bait with a jig head, using an Alabama rig. Not legal in all states, but allowed in South Dakota, an Alabama rig allows an angler to fish with multiple hooks on one line.

“Basically it imitates a school of bait fish, like perch,” Held said. “I started the morning using jerk baits and then switched to the Alabama rig. I caught the fish on the second cast with the rig.”

To say Held caught the fish in a very brief space of time is not entirely accurate. The two had been scouting, studying and fishing Horseshoe Lake for three years. They began after reading that the previous state record was caught in the lake in October 2013. [Read more…]