Brad Whitaker was the winner of the largest smallmouth bass caught with conventional tackle in the 2023 GREAT Miami Riverway Smallmouth Bass Fishing Challenge, coming in at 20.5 inches. In the Fly-Fishing category, Jake Minesinger landed the largest smallmouth bass at 19.5 inches. The tournament began on June 17 and completed August 16.
The challenge is a catch-and-release virtual tournament hosted by the Great Miami Riverway. This year’s sponsors included Molson Coors, the International Game Fish Association, ReelFlyrod, Fisherman’s Quarters, and the Miami Conservancy District. Participants use the i-Angler app to register and send in their catches.
“The tournament attracted 47 anglers competing in both the conventional and fly-fishing categories, logging a total of 676 bass during the challenge”, according to Dan Foley, Great Miami Riverway Director. “We are happy to see this tournament grow, and the length of fish get bigger every year”.
Of the fish logged - 44 qualify as “trophy size” for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Fish Ohio recognition program, which recognizes a noteworthy smallmouth bass as measuring 18 inches or more.
When anglers submit their catches for approval to tournament judges, they note the nearest Great Miami Riverway city to where that specific fish was logged. More bass were caught on the Great Miami River in or near the City of Dayton, City of Troy, and the City of Franklin.