It was his time
Jim Morrison picked a great time to catch his biggest bass ever.
Fishing in the Big Bass Bash at Lake of the Ozarks, he landed a 7.11-pound largemouth in the third hour of the two-day event. Then he watched nervously as a parade of other big ones were weighed in during the next day and a half.
Nothing really came close to Morrison’s fish, though, and he went home with a first-place check for $100,000.
“I’ve been fishing Lake of the Ozarks for 10 years and I’ve caught some nice bass there, but nothing like this,” said Morrison, 57, who lives in O’Fallon, Ill. “When I was fighting this fish, I could see a side-profile of what I had on and I told myself, ‘This could be the one.’
“Looking back, it seems that everything was going in slow motion.”
A series of factors worked in Morrison’s favor that Oct. 2 morning. He planned to make a four-mile run to a part of the lake where he caught bass before. But when he woke up, it was storming, so he decided to stay near his lake home in the Bagnell Dam area.
He started casting a 6-inch-long Pencil Popper
to docks when the big one hit.
“I was fishing a dock that I can see from my house,” he said. “I hadn’t fished it for four or five years. I was just working most of the docks in that area in case I had to make a dash back home if the weather got worse.”
Morrison, who runs a plumbing, heating and cooling business, gets together with friends to fish the Big Bass Bash every year. Though he fishes small tournaments, he has never won a big paycheck.
“There are a lot of hammers down there,” he said. “I can’t come close to matching them.”
The Big Bass Bash, though, is restricted to amateur bass anglers. It is a biggest-fish-takes-all tournament. That evens out the competition, and that concept has proved enormously successful. The Bash attracted 3,200 fishermen from 37 states this fall.
Morrison is uncertain how he will spend the money. The big thing is that he won, he said.
“Winning a tournament like this is a huge deal,” he said. “I’m just excited it was my time.”