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Angler Justin Hanold landed San Diego’s largest bass of the year Monday morning when he snagged a 17-pound largemouth by accident. Hanold was fishing Miramar Reservoir, one of San Diego’s prime bass fisheries, reports sdfish.com. Although Hanold is a successful tournament angler and operates his own guide service, he attributes his latest catch to pure “dumb luck.”

Hanold spotted several monster bass near a dock last week, and was nearing the same area when his phone began to ring. He tossed the bait — a modified 8-inch Huddleston swimbait — toward the dock, letting it fall on slack line while he scrambled with his phone in the other hand. He missed the call, tried returning the call without luck, then received a text. When Hanold finally looked away from his phone, he realized he had company.

“I had drifted closer to the dock, and looked down to see a giant bass gliding out to deep water under me,” Hanold told sdfish.com. “I noticed my line was also out in deeper water at this point, so I picked up the slack and felt a little resistance. Thinking I was stuck in some grass on the bottom, I gave it a little tug with one hand to pop it free and felt it tug back. Then a second later my rod was almost ripped out of my hand.”

But Hanold controlled his rod and reeled in the bass. It had swallowed his bait and he successfully maneuvered the fish into the boat.

“When I realized what had just happened, she jumped and that’s when my knees started to shake and all motor functions shut down. I was really happy she stayed on and fit in the net,” Hanold told the website.

Despite his claims of luck, Hanold has a history of catching big bass. Last week he caught and released a 13-pound, 14-ounce bass while fishing Miramar. Overall, he has caught more than 150 bass that weighed more than 10 pounds.

Miramar Reservoir has yielded five of the top 25 bass of all time, and has been a successful spot for anglers all year. Before Hanold reeled in his 17-pounder, angler Jay Saberon landed an early January bass that weighed 16 pounds, 3 ounces. He was also fishing Miramar and using a Huddleston swimbait. Although Miramar’s trophy bass population began to shrink several years ago in the absence of trout plants, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife resumed stocking Miramar during the last two seasons.

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