NJ Skillful Angler Qualifying weight is 6 lbs.
( Micropterus salmoides )
This is undoubtedly the most pursued gamefish in our Lake. Introduced into Lake Hopatcong back in 1874 by Maurice Decker with fish that were caught from Greenwood Lake. On some weekends during the summer there may be as many as three or four Bass Tournaments being held. While visiting my in-laws at Lee's Park, I have often walked down to witness the weigh-ins and I am always amazed at the numbers and quality of the Bass that are brought in. Inspite of this tremendous pressure the Largemouth has managed to flourish and provide great sport for all anglers from the Pro Bass Fisherman down to our youngsters fishing from shore or a dock. First, second and third places in our 1997 contest were won by three of our KNEE DEEP CLUB's Bass Fisherman Members. Dominick Bizzari Jr.#5592 was our 1st place winner with a 6 lb. 12 oz. beauty that taped 22-3/4 inches long with a 17 inch girh. This fish, being over the six-pound requirement not only qualified Dominick to receive the State's Skillful Angler Award, it was big enough to take 1st Place in this State wide category. Congratulations Dominick from over 1,000 KNEE DEEP CLUB members. In addition Dominick also recorded a 5 lb. 15 oz. Largemouth that taped 20-3/4 inches with a 16-« inch girth. Dominick is the son of Trustee and Raffle Ticket Chairman Dominick Bizzari Sr. who is also an avid Bass Fisherman. Our 2nd place winner is not unfamiliar to our Club, Howard Gibson #4959 our current Club Record holder took 2nd place with a nice 5 lb. 4 oz Bass that taped 21-1/2 inches with an 18 inch girth. Our 3rd place winner is another familiar face to our Club, Richard Hilton # 3925 weighed in a 5-pounder that taped 20-3/4 inches to secure 3rd place. Incidentally, here's an inside tip, three of the four fish mentioned above were reportedly caught on plastic worms. In addition to the above winners, Jim Walsh #2313 weighed in a 4 lb. 15 0z. speciman and Mike Rybak #4985 weighed in a 4 lb. 2 oz. fish. The Largemouth can live to be sixteen years old and based on current Lake Hopatcong growth records Howard Gibson's 7 lb. 8oz. Club Record Largemouth was probably an oldtimer as the average ten year old is only 19 inches long weighing an average of 4 lbs. Dominick's 6 lb. 12 oz. winner was estimated to be about 13 to 14 years old. The current State Record of 10 lbs. 14 oz. was caught back in 1980 and the World Record of 22 lbs. 4 oz. was caught in Georgia way back in 1932. As with many other species of fish, the females tend to grow larger and live longer than the males. The average growth of the Largemouth in Lake Hopatcong is as follows, a 5 year-old averages between 14 and 15 inches, an 8 year-old averages to be 18 inches to 18.5 inches and a ten year-old is about 19 inches long. Usual growth beyond ten years old is less than an 3/4 of an inch per year.