When you think of New York, you probably think of the Big Apple, cityscapes, and high-end lifestyles. The last thing you’d probably imagine finding in the state is a good fishing spot. However, The various cities that tend to hog all of the attention in New York are actually only a small part of what the state has to offer. The truth is, New York has some outstanding natural areas; especially up toward the northern part of the state.
Fishing in New York can include everything from good old pond fishing on farmland to deep fishing for exotic species in the Atlantic Ocean. The state also keeps records for the vast majority of fish that fall between those two extremes. There’s a record for everything from Barbot and chain pickerel, to hybrid bass and tuna.
Today, we want to focus on the top 7 bass fishing records in New York. The standard game fish records such as largemouth and Smallie records aren’t the most impressive in the country, but they’re still a lot more than most people catch, and some of the "bass" records that tend to get lumped in with true bass have tremendous records upstate.
Let’s get started.
Largemouth Bass Record for New York
New York isn’t exactly known for its bass fishing, but it has still produced a fish worthy of the record books compared to the average angler’s catch.
The current largemouth bass record in New York is an 11-pound 4-oz beauty caught by John L. Higby. The fish was reeled in at Buckhorn Lake, New York.
If you’ve paid attention to the records in states like Georgia, 11 pounds isn’t very impressive. In fact, it’s fairly common to catch 11-pound largemouth in some areas if you’re advanced enough to know what you’re doing. However, New York is a colder state, and there aren’t long stretches of warmth that allow the bass to go on massive feeding sprees. So, they tend to be smaller on average, and they’re not quite as numerous as they are in the states known for them.
With that being said, this record has been held since 1987. That is both an impressive feat and a little discouraging. It’s impressive that a bass only weighing 11 pounds has kept its crown across the entire state for so long, but that also means that it’s been almost 40 years with almost no one getting close to it.
To be fair, there could be anglers who have caught fish slightly larger than that and just didn’t know they needed to be weighed. When you think of record-breaking bass, you typically think of giant lunkers nearing 20 pounds or more. John’s record might have withstood the test of time solely because better catches weren’t reported.
Still, the average bass fisherman is reeling in three to six-pound bass consistently, and larger fish tend to be the highlight of a weekend spent on the water; not the norm. An 11-pounder is definitely worth being proud of.
Rock Bass New York Bass Record
Rock bass isn’t exactly the same as a largemouth or Smallie. It’s more of a sunfish that happens to look similar. However, it’s often lumped in with bass species, and it’s a feisty fish to latch onto when you’re running smaller lures, so it's crucial to have some of the best bass fishing lures.
In New York, the rock bass record is 1-pound 15 ounces, and the “big” panfish was reeled in by Eric Avogardo in 1984. It was caught at the Ramapo River.
Again, this doesn’t look like an impressive record on paper, but there’s a reason it has lasted for almost 40 years. Rock bass simply doesn't get much bigger than that. All of the world’s rock bass records tend to fall into the same range, and it’s unlikely that this one will be beaten unless it’s only by a few ounces.
There is a chance that bigger rock bass has been caught in New York, though. Since rock bass isn’t a game species, and it’s more or less treated like bluegill, the sport anglers targeting bass and massive catfish tend to ignore their rock bass catches entirely, and it takes someone who is truly dedicated to ultra-light fishing to bother getting a rock bass weighed. Who knows, a catfish angler could have reeled in a new world record, and promptly slapped it on a circle hook to get an average-sized blue cat. The possibilities are endless.
Smallmouth Bass New York Bass Record
New York’s Smallmouth bass record is one that will truly impress. It’s not the largest in the country, but it’s substantial, and it’s far more impressive than some other state records.
The current Smallie record is an 8-pound 4-ounce catch made by Andrew Kartesz. This record was set at Lake Eyrie, and it’s not quite as old as the other records we’ve listed. The record was set in 1995.
This is still an old record, but it’s a little different than the largemouth record. First, it’s obviously a little newer. It’s less than 30 years old, and then you have to consider the size. The Smallie record is actually in line with the potential weight of large Smallies. The largemouth record really wasn’t, and it would be considered a great personal best elsewhere, but not much more. This means that the Smallie record really has a reason for withstanding the test of time, and when new records are set, they likely won’t be anything that blows the current record out of the water. With the largemouth record, someone could easily snag a 15-pound bass at any moment with one good season allowing the bass to reach their full potential.
Striped Bass New York Oceanic Bass Fishing Record
There are two records for striped bass in New York. This is because the striped bass is one of several fish species that can actually live in both salt and freshwater.
This is the saltwater record for striped bass. It was 76 pounds, and it was caught by Bob Rocchetta in 1981. The record books only detail its location as the "Atlantic Ocean”. Although, it was likely caught at an inlet or other spot that is relatively close to freshwater runoff.
You will notice that this record is quite a bit larger than the freshwater record we’ll talk about in the next section. That’s because striped bass that spend their lives in the saltwater areas around New York have much easier access to substantial amounts of food. Whether that means they’re gnawing through half a school of "small" baitfish that would make freshwater bait fish look like shrimp or taking on much larger prey.
That allows striped bass that aren't landlocked to feed more and grow larger than their landlocked brothers can.
With that being said, this is near the peak for striped bass. They can get larger, but it’s not common, and most striped bass records are close to this. So, outdoing this record is something that will likely come down to sheer luck, and there’s a reason the record has lasted since 1981.
Striped Bass New York Inland Bass Fishing Record
This is the second striped bass record we mentioned. It was a 55-pound lunker pulled out of the Hudson River by Dan Mangold.
This is one of the newer records on our list, and it was set in 2003. In the world of competitive fishing, records can change within days, and they have in some cases, but this is still a fairly new record in the grand scheme of things.
As we said earlier, it is smaller than the record caught in the Atlantic Ocean. This has a lot to do with the food available in freshwater environments, and the much lower amount of room.
However, that shouldn’t discourage anyone from trying to beat this freshwater record.
Striped bass has been caught in the 60 and 70-pound range even in landlocked environments where there is no chance for them to ever get into the ocean. It all depends on how well-stocked the fishery is, whether or not the striped bass are able to compete with fishermen for large amounts of food, and weather patterns that affect their feeding habits. If just a single striped bass happens to live an exceptionally long life in freshwater and get a few bountiful feeding frenzies in, this record can be blown out of the water with ease. You just need to know the right bass fishing pattern.
White Bass New York Bass Fishing Record
White bass is closely connected to striped bass. In fact, they can mate and create our final list entry. However, they are extremely small, and they certainly won’t set any records that impress.
The New York record for white bass is currently a 3-pound 6-ounce white bass that was pulled out of Furnace Brook by Robert Hilton in 1992.
This isn’t a huge record, but white bass doesn't typically get much larger. So, it makes sense that the record has stood since 1992.
Hybrid Bass New York Bass Fishing Record
The hybrid bass is the fish we mentioned above. It’s a mixture of white bass and striped bass that occurs when smaller striped bass comes inland to spawn. This creates a fish that is smaller than a striped bass but shares visual traits with both parent species.
The record for hybrid bass in New York is 11 pounds and 2 ounces. It was caught at Lake Waccabuc in 2000 by George Harris.
If you look at the white bass record and don’t know much about hybrid bass, this probably seems impressive. However, hybrid bass has frequently been caught at more than 20 pounds in other states. It’s not uncommon for them to exceed the largemouth world record.
That is both a good thing and a bad thing. The bad thing is that the record has stood since 2000. That’s pretty new in the fishing world, but that is still 22 years that have gone by without this relatively small record being shattered. On the positive side, we know for a fact that hybrid bass can get to be more than double that size, and if the conditions are right, you can shatter that record.
What Can Be Learned from These Records?
At first glance, this is just a list of other anglers’ bass fishing records in New York. However, there are some things that can be learned from them.
If you’re a competitive fisherman, you want your name in the record books. With a little understanding of the various fish species and these records, you can determine which records will be somewhat easier to target, and which ones are more or less locked until a miracle happens.
For example, there’s a lot of room for unreported record breakers with rock bass, and the largemouth and hybrid bass records are well below the standard around the country. It’s reasonable for you to target those and hopefully break the bass fishing record in New York. With striped bass, where the species is more or less locked in by the natural limits of the fish, you’ll need a lot more luck, and you’ll have to be extremely diligent about weighing every large catch. The new record might only be by an ounce or two.
Weigh Your Fish:
You might have noticed that we noted a few species that potentially could have false records. That’s not because the record holder cheated. We just mean that they’re fish a lot of anglers ignore.
The rock bass is the best example of this. It is very likely, and even probable, that someone has caught one that beat that record by an ounce or two. They just took a quick photo of the large panfish they caught and released it or chopped it into cut bait for catfish. If you’re aware of the records like bass fishing records in New York, you might get your name in the record book just by bothering to pay attention.
The location you’re fishing in, and the environmental factors that affect fish growth in those areas will have an impact on the size of the fish you’re catching. You can use our fishing app to get a full rundown of the area and learn about barometric pressure to help you spot prime record-targeting locations and set new bass fishing records in New York.