Jason Heis of Salina is the new Kansas record holder for a smallmouth bass.
On Aug. 15, while competing in his local bass club's tournament at Milford Reservoir, Heis caught a 6.687-pound bronzeback. The previous state record smallmouth also came from Milford. It was caught by Jimmy Gilreath in 1997 and weighed 6.37 pounds.
After fishing different parts of the lake with little luck, Heis maneuvered his boat about 30 feet from the dam and began casting into the 2-foot deep water near the rocks.
His determination paid off when a the state record smallmouth hammered the 4-inch plastic worm he was working through the water.
"My partner helped me land the fish with a net," Heis said. "I was a little bit dumbfounded to see a smallmouth of that size off the dam in August."
Fisheries biologist John Reinke was called in to confirm the record, and an application was sent to Wildlife and Parks. After the department's waiting period, the fish was confirmed as a new record smallmouth.
Incidentally, Heis not only caught a state record fish, but he also won the tournament.
"I put this above hitting a hole-in-one," Heis said. "Lots of guys have hit holes-in-one, but to win a tournament and set a state record in one day -- that's something special."