Student Lands Monster Florida Bass
Bob McNally 04.25.17
Dominic Montalto’s family moved from Illinois to Florida a year ago and specifically selected their home based on the proximity to fishing ponds. They made a good choice.
Montalto, 19, a student at Florida Gulf Coast University, caught a largemouth bass weighing 163/4 pounds from a private pond in Estero, Fla. He’s the heavyweight leader in Season 5 of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s TrophyCatch program. The program recognizes anglers who catch, document, and release bass weighing 8 pounds or more, thereby promoting catch-and-release fishing.
Montalto’s fish is the biggest bass ever entered in TrophyCatch.The catch qualifies Montalto for the TrophyCatch Hall of Fame Club, for anglers who catch and release bass weighing 13 pounds or more. Hall of Fame anglers receive a fishing tackle package and a replica mount of their catch. The biggest of the year earns additional prizes.
The huge egg-laden female was only 8 ounces shy of the Florida largemouth record, a 17-pound 4-ounce fish caught in Polk County in 1986.
What’s more, Montalto released the bass, meaning it will grow even larger in the small private lake in his neighborhood where he was fishing in the evening in late March. Estero is a coastal town south of Fort Myers in Lee County.
He was casting from shore and used a 3½-inch XPS Z9R Perch Swimbait in a bluegill pattern. His tackle included a Johnny Morris Titanium 8 rod and Pro Qualifier reel.