It's been an exciting week for Billings resident Brandon Wright, who broke a Montana state record on Saturday (4/24) when he landed a monster sized Largemouth Bass in Lake Elmo. The 9 pound, 9.2 ounce fish shattered the previous record of 8.8 pounds. We caught up today with the laid-back, 28-year-old refinery technician, who still seems a little overwhelmed by his newfound attention. Even the folks at Eagle Claw hooks reached out to him about his catch.

Like many of us, Wright has been fishing since he was a kid. The Texas native moved to Montana for his job in 2017 and after going through a divorce last year, he said he likes  to spend as much time as he can fishing and enjoying the outdoors. He's caught big fish before, including an 82 pound catfish in Texas and a large tarpon off the Florida coast. Nowadays, he usually prefers to fly fish the Big Horn. Last Saturday he decided to head to Lake Elmo for a relaxing day of spin fishing.

He was at the lake for just fifteen minutes when the Largemouth took his hook on a bottom jig. Realizing he might have a record, Wright called the nearby Albertsons store to see if he could have his fish weighed on one of their certified scales. Customers in the store were surprised to see a man with a giant fish in his hands at the deli counter. Hilariously, the employee slapped a sticker on the fish that said "beef." We think "hog" would've been more appropriate.

Photo provided by Brandon Wright
Photo provided by Brandon Wright

Brandon said he originally planned to release the fish so someone else could experience catching the record bass, but it perished before a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks representative could verify the catch. He's now getting the fish mounted.  Listen to the full interview below:

Robert Gibson, Communication and Educations Manager at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Region 5, confirmed that it's been an active record-busting season in Montana over the past year. Some of the big fish being caught across the state include:

  • A record Chinook Salmon caught last August
  • A record Smallmouth Bass caught in October
  • A record Yellow Bullhead in December (caught in the Billings area)
  • A record Brown Trout caught in  February
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Gibson attributes a couple of factors for the record fish... 1) more people are fishing and 2) habitat improvement over the past decade. Of course, much can be said for good luck and being in the right place at the right time.

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