John McCoy is the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette’s award-winning outdoors writer. His "Woods & Waters" page appears weekly in the Sports section of the Sunday Gazette-Mail.
In 32 years of outdoors writing, John has had articles published in Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Bowhunter, North American Whitetail, Hatches and other publications. His works have earned more than 50 state, regional and national awards for writing and photography.
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It’s rare, but they apparently do get that old. The surprising thing to me was the bass’s relatively small size. Then again, bass grow pretty slowly up north, and Kalispell lies just a few miles south of Montana’s border with Canada. From the Associated Press:
KALISPELL, Mont. — A 10-year-old Kalispell boy using a rubber worm caught a largemouth bass in Western Montana that wildlife officials say is nearly twice as old as he is.
Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Mark Deleray said the bass caught and released by Garrett Frost in Rose Creek Slough on July 16 could be as much as 19 years old, which may be the oldest on record for Montana.
The fish was 20 to 22 inches long and weighed about 3.5 pounds.
Garrett removed a tag that had been placed on the fish in 1997 in another Flathead River backwater area about 5 miles away. Biologists estimate that the fish was 5 years old when it was tagged, based on the fact that it was just over 14 inches long and weighed 1.5 pounds at the time.
“We can be pretty confident about that age,” FWP spokesman Mark Fraley said Wednesday, adding that a bass can’t grow as big as 14 inches long in less than five years in Montana.
Tyler Frost told FWP officials his son hooked the fish on a rubber worm and landed it himself.
Most literature says largemouth bass can live to be 15 or 16 in the northern United States, Fraley said. Fish tend to grow slower and live longer in colder waters.