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-FROM THE EDITOR- 28 February, 2004-





    I traditionally begin celebrating the New Year once I have caught my first river fish of the year. It usually happens in February but last year it didn't happen until the very end of March. Well, February 22nd marked the New Year for me this season, but another GRFer brought in 2004 with quite a bang, and actually did it on January 1st, 2004. Jim Nielson of Watkinsville and Troy Winebarger of Byron decided not to waste a beautiful day watching college bowl games (like I did). They went fishing, and Jim drifted his Woolly Bugger through a deep pool and look what ate it! This largemouth bass (which was released unharmed) went well over 25 inches and probably weighed between 7 and 8 pounds! Here's another picture:


    This is quite simply an amazing accomplishment. For one thing, largemouth bass rarely grow this large in rivers north of the Fall Line and bass fishing is normally really tough in the winter. As you can see, Jim is standing in an area with a pretty good amount of current, which is not where you'd expect to see a largemouth bass any time of the year, much less in January. And to top it all off, Jim caught this amazing fish on a flyrod! What a blast! Those of you who know Jim won't be surprised to find out what he did immediately after releasing this behemoth: He drank a Budweiser, of course.

    Well, I had planned on telling the story of my New Year's bass, but it pretty much pales in comparison to Jim's story. Mine was a solid 2 pound largemouth that hit my spinnerbait on the day's final cast. Two pounds is a nice fish for us regular folks, Jim. Happy New Year everybody!




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