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Angler reels in monster striped bass in Arkansas

Stephen Tyson Jr. caught the fish during the Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournament last weekend.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — A 27-year-old Camden native is getting a lot of attention for what he caught on Lake Hamilton.

Arkansas Game and Fish posted pictures of Stephen Tyson Jr. holding a massive striped bass. Tyson caught the fish during the Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournament last weekend.

When Tyson realized it wasn’t a black bass, he released it back into the water before getting it weighed.

So, no one will know how close it came to Arkansas’s state record striped bass of 64 pounds, 8 ounces, caught in the Beaver Lake tailwater by Jeff Fletcher of Golden, Missouri, in 2000.

“When I released it, it really sank it, ‘You let that one go.’ The one thing I regret is not getting it weighed,” Tyson said. “But at that moment, it was literally the first 5-10 minutes of the tournament. I’m not going to stop fishing for bass. Starting out that fast, I knew I had a chance at at least 20 pounds. But then catching a striper that size, oh my God. It’s a fish of a lifetime.”

In an article released by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, Tyson said he wants to return to Hamilton soon and target the same area and maybe land the monster again, or perhaps another massive striper. 

He credits having his sonar to be able to find fish, as it eliminates time in tracking them down, “but you’ve got to put your skills and talent, your technique, to get the fish to bite. It’s key to locating fish, but you still have got to get them to bite.”

Lake Hamilton is one of the few lakes the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission stocks with stripers. Neighboring lakes Ouachita and Catherine also are stocked with stripers, as are Norfork Lake and Beaver Lake in the northern reaches of the state.

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