March 20, 2006, the first day of spring and a young man’s fancies turn to . . . "Fishing"???
Well that is how it was for three lifelong friends out of Carlsbad, California, Mac Weakley, Mike Winn, and Jed Dickerson. They woke up around 3 a.m. and headed for Dixon Lake in Escondido, California. They arrived just before 4 a.m. and rented a campsite so they could be the first anglers at the window to purchase a rental boat and their fishing permits. They loaded the gear in the boat and were on the water by 6:05 a.m. After leaving the dock the three headed straight to the spot that a monster Largemouth bass was spotted the day before. The boat was positioned and the anchors were set, there was a light rain shower falling with clouds overhead and a breeze from the west.
The strategy was all mapped out. Set up off the bedding area, place the bait in the zone and repeat until "The Beast" as the trio had named her picked up the bait. So, when after close to twenty casts the slack in Mac Weakley’s line disappeared and the rod tip twitched, it was Game On! With one swing of the rod the real story began.
On the second attempt the fish was in the net. At that point the three friends knew that the fish would easily shatter the standing world record, but a problem quickly became apparent. The hook was not lodged in or around the mouth of the fish, but behind the gill close to the dorsal fin. The fish was unintentionally foul-hooked.
The boat was motored over to a pier and the fish was carefully removed from the net and placed on a stringer. The three exited the boat and prepared to lift the big gal out of the lake and weigh her. Mac manned the video camera, Jed readied the scale and Mike Winn removed the fish from the lake. The fish was hung on the scale and immediately eclipsed the 24 pound mark and continued to rise. The scale finally settled out at 25 pounds 1 ounce. Mac stated that his arms felt like "Jell-O" after fighting the fish and that is why he had Mike Winn hold it. He feared he might drop it and he did not want her to be over handled and stressed. The video was shut off and three still photos were snapped.
The three looked at one another smiled and agreed that it was time to release the should have been world record million dollar bass.
Some will claim foul and other may say it is all a hoax, but folks, it is all true! There just happen to be three un-biased bystanders present to corroborate the entire story.
After her release, Dotty, as she later was named due to a black dot on her neck, eluded anglers for another two years. Ironically, during the filming at Dixon Lake of a National Geographic special about the pursuit of the world record bass, Dotty’s lifeless body was found floating in the reeds along the shore. Though she is no longer with us, her legend continues and fishermen visiting the lake wonder if Dotty had a twin sister!