Thanking the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act
November 22, 2023 •iSportsman Staff
Arkansas fishing regular Josh Rogers hit a jackpot, of sorts. While he did not strike literal gold, he managed to catch one of the rarest fish possible, a golden largemouth bass. Fishing at Beaver Lake in the Ozark Highlands in late May, Rogers was unaware that a regular day of reeling would have landed him such a prize.
When he first pulled the bass out of the water, he was quickly able to identify the species, but it had an unusual lack of the traditional green and brown shades that would have thrown anyone off. Despite the color differences though, Rogers threw the fish back into the water, having thought little of it. Luckily, he snags a picture with the fish, sending it to friends and posting it on social media.
“I didn’t think anything about it for an hour and a half of fishing,” Rogers told Arkansas Wildlife Magazine. “Then I started sending pictures to friends and putting it on Instagram and Facebook, and from the reaction of everybody, I started thinking, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have thrown it back.’”
According to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologist Jon Stein, the largemouth has a unique genetic anomaly known as Xanthochroism, which is a localized or general absence of black and brown pigment with regular development of red and golden pigments. The lack of brown and black to offset the other colors results in a yellow, red or even golden tint, like Rogers’s fish.
He will most certainly be kicking himself for throwing it back in as the fish was a once-in-a-lifetime catch, but the impressive catch did not stop Stein from jokingly commenting on Rogers’s luck.
“Josh needs to buy a lottery ticket because he caught one fish in a million,” said Stein.
Rogers plans to have a replica of his famous catch made to hold as a trophy, though he would most likely prefer the real thing.