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Big Bass Being Reeled In on DeGray Lake

BY Jim Harris

ON 02-09-2024


BISMARCK — Black bass measuring 11.02 and 12.6 pounds were taken on consecutive weekends at DeGray Lake by area anglers. Kanon Harmon (above) caught his monster, which was 26 inches long with a 21-inch girth and 15-inch-wide mouth, on Saturday, Jan. 27, fishing with two friends, brothers Carson and Blake Humphrey. Last weekend, Jimi Easterling, a buddy and mentor of Kanon’s, guided an angler from Memphis, Dabney Hammer, to a spot to land the 12.6-pounder.

Kanon reported catching his lunker with a white swimbait, a Motivated Exodus swimmer, at 35 feet depth in 60 feet of water. He said he was able to see the fish on LiveScope and put the perfect cast in its vicinity, played with it and got the fish to attack the bait. They were fishing in the area around the State Park Marina.

“I didn’t think it was a bass at first,” Kanon said. “I thought maybe it was a striper or hybrid. It wasn’t digging very hard. Bass usually take off as soon as you set the hook into them. But then I was fighting it in and fighting it in, we’re about to get to get it right to the boat and then I saw that Florida (bass) strain diamond pattern on it and thought, ‘This is a 10-pounder!” Everybody in the boat started to freak out.”

He had a 10-pound test line on his spinning rod, and they managed to get the fish in, weigh it first on a scale in the boat that didn’t give a consistent reading, then quickly took it to Iron Mountain Marina to use their scales, before getting photos and letting it go.

The 11.02-pound catch is his personal best, topping a previous 7-pounder.

Kanon, attending Harmony Grove High in Haskell at the time, teamed with Brody Jacks from Bauxite to win the 2020 Commissioners’ Cup, sponsored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation. They were fourth the previous year. He’s currently a senior at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville majoring in business management, but he hopes to continue fishing competitively in some capacity after college. He also works three days a week. He plans on fishing area tournaments this spring and summer, and says he’s been “chasing it my whole life,” first having a rod in hand at age 3. When he joined his dad in a firemen’s fishing tournament on Lake Ouachita when he was 13, he says he was hooked.

“My friends have all had fish over 7 (pounds) and I was wondering if I would ever get one better than that weight,” he said.

Kanon suggests that anglers fishing DeGray now try using swimbaits, jigging spoons and jerkbaits, as well as a Rat-L-Trap, which would be ideal around grass and shallow rock areas at DeGray. The spoon or swimbait, as well as an Alabama rig, would be more suited for targeting over brush piles there the way he was fishing in late January; the A-rig will work nicely over grass, brush and schools of shad. Kanon uses a spoon or swimbait when he’s targeting, he says.

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BIG BASS Local angler Kanon Harmon caught this massive 11.02-lb. largemouth bass at DeGray Lake Jan. 27. It was one of two double-digit bass reported from the lake in the last two weeks. Photo by Jimi Easterling, courtesy of Kanon Harmon.

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