On Wednesday, February 23, Oklahoma angler Brodey Davis hit the road with his nine-year-old son Stetson and made the roughly five hour drive from his hometown of Tuttle to O.H. Ivie Lake in Texas. Inclement weather added another hour of driving to the trip, but it also afforded the duo an opportunity to make the journey since the younger Davis was off from school.
“I bring him with me whenever I can,” said Brodey.
The decision to bring Stetson along ultimately led to a father-son fishing trip that will last a lifetime!
“I Was Looking for One Fish, Not a Bunch of Fish”
The trip to O.H. Ivie marked Davis’ second visit to the lake this year and third in total. The lifelong angler, who become more serious about bass fishing over the past couple years with the advent of forward-facing sonar and Livescope, was well aware that Ivie has become one of the hottest bass fishing destinations in the entire country.
The day before Brodey and his son hit the road, Brady Stanford landed the pending world record meanmouth bass – a hybrid smallmouth/spotted bass – on the same lake.
Brodey recalled a conversation with his nephew before the trip, explaining that he was “looking for one fish, not a bunch of fish” on this trip. His goal was simple: bring his first ever double-digit largemouth bass into the boat.
Prior to the trip, Brodey’s personal best largemouth was a respectable 8.3 pounder caught on McGee Creek in Oklahoma.
While his expectations were clear, Brodey could not have imagined the magnitude of the fish that would await him roughly 24 hours later.
“You See It In the Water and Know It Was Big”
Around noon on Thursday, February 24, Brodey was in hot pursuit of his double digit bass. He had two potential 10+ pounders following earlier in the day, but he knew he was in the presence of something special after seeing his eventual catch appear on the screen.
“I seen her on Livescope and had thrown at her one time,” Brodey recalled. He was able to watch the pre-strike play out, noting that “she turned around and faced [the rig], even come away from the tree where she was at.”
Soon after, the fight was on…
“When I set the hook, she didn’t budge. She briefly started coming up toward the boat, really slow. Once she seen the boat, she went down, side-flashed.”
After catching his first glimpse, Brodey knew that he may be dealing with the fish of a lifetime.
“I told Stetson, ‘this is a sharelunker! Get the net!’”
Stetson, who just happened to be wearing a hat adorned with the words “Net Man,” knew his role. All his father had to do now was get the fish close enough to land.
“I loosened drag. She was running for the bank, brought her back up. She got up around 5 or 6 feet from the boat. We were gonna net her, then she made another run. That was the hardest one.”
Once the fish was close enough to scoop, Stetson helped his father bring in the largest bass most people will ever see in their lifetime.
“From then, it was pretty unbelievable,” Brodey said. “You see it in the water and know it was big, but the overall structure of that fish was something I’ve never seen before. Seeing something like that in person is unbelievable.”
Learning From the Master
Brodey’s appreciation (and aptitude) for using the aforementioned technology that helped him land his massive sharelunker came honestly.
That is because he learned from one of the best.
In fact, when Josh Jones – arguably the most influential and divisive bass angler in the entire world right now – shared a Facebook post that read, in all caps, “POSSIBLE 17 POUNDER ALERT,” most assumed he had added yet another massive trophy fish to his unbelievable collection.
And it’s easy to see why…
Just four days before Brodey’s catch, Jones announced that he had landed the 64th and 65th double-digit bass of his career. The next day, Jones landed a 14.51 pound lunker.
On the 23rd, Jones shared that he “might have just caught the largest bass of my life.”
On the 24th, when Jones shared a video of the massive fish and tens-of-thousands of anglers realized that someone else had landed this whopper, most assumed that Brodey was one of Jones’ clients that day.
“I actually met Josh Jones about a year ago,” said Brodey, explaining that he had gone out on a guided trip with Jones and the duo hit it off. Since then, the two have casually fished together several times.
During their time fishing, Jones shared the techniques that have helped him achieve massive success in both bass and crappie fishing. Interestingly enough, Jones was also fishing at Ivie the day of the catch and had actually been on the phone with Brodey when the fish struck.
Despite fishing from different boats that day, Brodey was thankful his fishing guide-turned-friend was able to share in the moment.
“Josh Jones has been very influential,” Brodey said. “He taught me Livescope and he was just as excited as I was. It was pretty cool to have him there when it happened.”
Making History, Setting Records
When it came time to get an official weight, it was clear that the fish was going to garner some serious attention.
The official Facebook page of Elm Creek RV & Campground noted “this one made our hearts skip a beat when weighing.”
And rightfully so…
The official weight on Brodey Davis’ fish was an unbelievable 17.06 pounds. The fish measured 27 1/4 inches in length with a girth of 23 1/4 inches.
Brodey’s catch has since been certified as the O.H. Ivie Lake record, the largest Texas bass not caught on Lake Fork and, perhaps most notably, the largest Texas bass recorded in over thirty years!
According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, only six largemouth bass recorded in Texas have ever weighed more than Brodey’s, and all were caught on Lake Fork. These fish include:
- Barry St. Clair: 18.18 pounds on January 24, 1992
- Mark Stevenson: 17.67 pounds on November 26, 1986
- Stan Moss: 17.64 pounds on April 1, 1989
- Jerry L. New: 17.63 pounds on August 28, 1990
- Larry Barnes: 17.29 pounds on February 14, 1988
- Troy Coates: 17.08 pounds on February 26, 1991
Of particular note is the fact that aside from Brodey’s catch, every other bass in the top 16 was caught in the 1980s or 90s.
It isn’t until your reach number 17 – Joe McKay’s 16.40 pounder caught in February 2021 – that you see another fish landed in the 2000s.
McKay’s fish also happens to be the previous O.H. Ivie record that was displaced by Brodey’s catch.
“Does Anyone Deserve a 17 Pound Bass?? I Definitely Think Brodey Davis Does.”
Beyond the impressive stats, records, and “fifteen minutes of fame” that has become commonplace during the social media age, this is ultimately the story of an angler and his son sharing an absolutely unforgettable moment.
Also, while there is absolutely nothing at all wrong with the casual angler landing a “once in a lifetime” fish, that distinction certainly does not apply to Brodey Davis.
According to a post from Josh Jones, Brodey has fished 26 different lakes in the past year. He and his son made the trip to Ivie in the snow, adding an extra hour to their already lengthy trip. On the morning of the catch, there were very few boats on the water. It was foggy, freezing, and windy, with temperatures in the mid-20s.
After speaking with Brodey, it is also clear that he is an angler who respects the pastime of fishing and, just as importantly, the “one fish” he has been waiting for.
“The whole thing has been pretty unbelievable,” Brodey notes.
His massive catch is currently with Texas Parks and Wildlife, where early DNA sampling has shown no matches to any other bass in the ShareLunker program. Through a selective breeding program, Brodey was able to donate the bass for the remainder of its life or choose an alternate option: return the fish back to O.H. Ivie after one spawn.
Brodey, at this time, is leaning toward the latter option.
“My thoughts are this,” he said. “Would you rather live a longer life in captivity, or live and die back in your own home?”
Admittedly, the decision also allows Brodey to have one final moment with the largest bass he may ever catch.
“I want to put my hands on her again,” he said. “It would be more special to send her back home in person than leaving her in Athens. I’m really looking forward to that part of it. That’s going to be a really big deal for me.”
Returning to release his catch will also give Brodey another opportunity to fish Ivie in search of another Texas giant.
“Personally, I believe the state record is in there,” he said.
While the state record may be a lofty goal, many within the fishing community agree that Brodey has earned his status atop the O.H. Ivie Lake record books.
As Josh Jones stated on Facebook, “Does anyone deserve a 17 pound bass?? I definitely think Brodey Davis does.”