The REAL Story of the World Record Bass

Dottie was far and away the most famous fish that ever lived. Fished for by thousands of anglers, the monster largemouth bass that could have broken the 22-pound 4-ounce world record, was found floating on the surface of Lake Dixon last May. Doug Brown, the 23-year-old marine sniper who actually found the record fish, remains unknown to even the most devoted Dottie tabloid readers. On Mother's Day, Brown set out on Dixon Lake for a day of bass fishing. He is originally from Louisiana but is stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif. and he regularly bass fishes Dixon. Brown was sight fishing the shallows, trying to pick bass off of their beds when he glanced toward some reeds and spotted a giant fish floating dead. Brown grabbed the fish, having no idea that he was holding the holy grail of bass fishing by the mouth. "I didn't know the story of Dottie very well, I just saw it was a big dead fish," Brown says.Outdoor Life Online Editor
He decided the fish had been dead for about 24 hours, and he also noticed a gash on the top of her head. Brown thinks that someone might have spotted Dottie sitting on her bed and tried to snag her. All reports however, indicate that Dottie died of natural causes. Brown tied Dottie to his stringer and brought her back to the dock, where the giant fish caught the attention of the local park rangers. The rangers weighed the fish at 19 pounds and immediately identified her as Dottie by the distinguishing black dot they found on her gills. After identifying Dottie, the rangers called Lake Dixon pro Jed Dickerson who immediately came to the lake to see the fish he had been relentlessly chasing for years. The rangers knew Dottie's history well: she weighed a record-shattering 25 pounds in 2006 when she was caught by Mac Weakley- one of Dickerson's fishing buddies. However, Weakley released Dottie and did not officially register her because he accidentally foul hooked her in the side. For years Dottie had been the target of trophy bass anglers from all around the world.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Not anticipating the media buzz Dottie would create, Brown left the bass with the rangers and went back to fishing. About two hours later he returned to the dock to see a flurry of camera crews finishing their stories and getting ready to go. "I told them I had found Dottie and asked if they wanted to know my name, but they said they already had their story," Brown says. The only recognition he got was an 800-word story written in the local newspaper. Worst of all, when Brown came back from fishing the giant bass was gone. Brown says the rangers took Dottie to a lab to be studied. When he called to see if he could get the fish back to be mounted or replicated, the rangers said they would make him a mold of the fish, but more than two months later, Brown is still waiting. Unfortunately for Brown, Dottie proved to be just as elusive in death as she was in life.Outdoor Life Online Editor

The inside story on the man who finally took the most famous bass of all.