NARRATION: Fish stories come and go, but the
good ones, the real good ones; they stand the test of time.
In 1961, Marvin Bushong caught this 13 pound, 14 ounce largemouth bass on the Pontiac arm
of Bull Shoals Lake. It became the Missouri state record, and remains
so to this day. Lana Bushong: Well, my dad, he fished every
day. They always seemed to come home with a big
stringer of fish. I mean, that was his life.
NARRATION: Meet Marvin Bushong, born in 1926 in rural Ozark County.
He grew up in the county seat of Gainesville, living a life that must have been a lot like
Mayberry. During the war he served with pride in the
745th Tank Battalion. And while the boys were enjoying their “semester
abroad”, things were happening back home that would have a profound effect on Marvin’s
life. Planning had begun on Bull Shoals Lake, a
massive 45,000 acre impoundment, one arm of which would extend right up to Gainesville.
For Marvin, oh, it was a dream come true. Fifty five years later his son Mike is still
fishing these waters. Mike Bushong: I’m sure he got down here
while it was still dark. He would have come down this bank best we
know going with that spinner bait as he come down through here.
Says in the deal that it was the second cast of the day I believe.
NARRATION: Years after the epic catch, Marvin’s wife wrote an account of what happened that
day. The big lunker hit Bushong’s second cast.
It hit hard and the barbed hook was firmly imbedded in its lower bony lip.
Bushong fought the bass for about 12 minutes and it was fortunate that it was firmly hooked
for the reel came off the pole while he was playing the bass.
Holding the reel in his hand, he kept winding the reel and pulling on the line until he
got the bass to the boat. A.J. Pratt: No surprise at all.
In the case of like Bull Shoals, when that water starts being impounded, there’s a
lot of trees, vegetation, the soil, there’s a lot of nutrients there.
And a lot of times in these new lakes that’s when you are going to experience the best
fishing and the biggest fish being produced back in the ‘50s and early ‘60s.
Phenomenal numbers of fish, seven, eight, nine, ten, even eleven pound fish are being
brought out of the lake. NARRATION: Sadly, Marvin wasn’t able to
enjoy his record for long. He was tragically killed just nine years later,
again on the water, tangled in his trot lines. His passion for fishing burned until the very
end. But that record, the largest largemouth bass
ever taken in the state of Missouri lives on.