Every Wednesday, without fail, 44-year-old Randy Dixon heads out to Lake Jocassee for a day of fishing. For Dixon, April 4 would be no different. But to his surprise, he reeled in a new state redeye bass record for South Carolina that may also be a new world record.
Dixon, of Westminster, caught a record-breaking 5-pound, 2.5-ounce redeye bass from a "familiar" section of Lake Jocassee in Oconee County where he had fished many times before. Fishing from a boat, Dixon used a Team Daiwa 7-foot medium-heavy rod, a Shimano reel and a 12-pound-test Sigma line. The technique Dixon used was Texas rigging with a Zoom worm. "I was fishing on a bluff area and when I cast, it hit the bottom, and the fish took the bite right then," Dixon said. Travis Peak of Old Fort, N.C., held the previous state record for redeye bass with a 3-pound, 10-ounce fish caught in 1998 from Lake Jocassee.
Dixon says he got to the lake at 7 that morning for his usual full day of fishing. He had already caught two or three largemouth when the redeye bit. When he pulled in the catch, he knew he had a record. "The whole fight only took about 30 seconds," Dixon said. "It doesn't take a long time to get a fish in. If anybody has one on longer than a minute, they are using light tackle and the fish is in control."
Dan Rankin, DNR district fisheries biologist based in Clemson, confirmed the weight and species of the catch. The redeye weighed in at 5 pounds, 2.5 ounces and was 20 inches long (girth 15 inches; fork length 19 inches). The all-tackle record for the species in the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame is 3 pounds, 2 ounces caught in Alabama in 2000. This makes the South Carolina fish a candidate for a world record.