Wednesday, September 17, 2014 · 11:34 a.m.

Historic fish weighed in at Saturday Chattanooga bass event

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Randy Pippin shows off an 11.34-pound largemouth taken from Chickamauga Lake on March 30. This is the largest bass ever weighed in a Chattanooga Bass Association event in its 36-year history. (Photo: Richard Simms)

It took almost 32 pounds of bass to win the March 30 Chattanooga Bass Association tournament on Chickamauga Lake. Baron Adams and Brian Pierce caught five bass that averaged more than 6 pounds apiece to claim the $2,000 first prize in the Saturday event, which was sponsored by Reddick Auto Body.

Rogne Brown (left) and Michael Neal show off the best fish of a 31-pound Chickamauga Lake bag that won second place in a March 30 tournament. In an earlier Chickamauga tournament, Brown and his partner weighed in a massive 44.3-pound bag of bass. (Photo: Richard Simms)

Perhaps more significant than the winners, however, was Randy Pippin's catch. Pippin won the Big Fish Competition honors, weighing in a bass that tipped the scales at 11.34 pounds. Organizers said that is the largest bass ever caught during a tournament in the CBA's 36-year history.

The bass world continues to buzz about Chickamauga Lake after anglers won three previous tournaments with weights approaching or exceeding 40 pounds, an almost unheard of accomplishment anywhere in the country. Most of those historic catches have been anchored by Rogne Brown. Saturday, Brown and his partner, Mike Neal, claimed second place with 30.9 pounds.

TWRA fisheries biologist Brandon Ragland collects a tissue sample from a Chickamauga largemouth. A DNA analysis will help biologists determine how much influence its Florida-strain Bass Stocking Program is having on Chickamauga Lake. (Photo: Richard Simms)

TWRA biologists were on hand at Saturday's event, collecting tissue samples from bass for DNA analysis. They are monitoring how much influence Florida-strain bass stocking is having on the reservoir. To date in 2013, they’ve collected samples from nearly 40 bass weighing more than 8 pounds. The results won’t be available until late summer, but TWRA fisheries biologist Mike Jolley estimates a majority of the samples collected will show Florida-strain influence.

The current Tennessee state record largemouth—14 pounds, 8 ounces—was caught in 1954.

Now, Jolley says, "I think it’s perceivable that we could see a new state record come from Chickamauga.”

Rounding out the remaining top places in Saturday's CBA event were:

—3rd: Roy Dye and Drew Tompkins, 28.91 pounds, $700
—4th: Jeff Reed and Josh Reed, 27.80 pounds, $600
—5th: Tony Townsend and Galen James, 26.33 pounds, $450
—6th: James Davis and Joey Davis, 26.00 pounds, $400
—7th: Jayme Copenhaver and Adam Dysart, 25.72 pounds, $350
—8th: Mike Varner and Jared McMillon, 25.32 pounds, $300
—9th: Brent Butler and Seth Davis, 25.07 pounds, $250
—10th: Rick Camp and Jamie Hatcher, 24.98 pounds, $200
—11th: Ivan Haag and Jessie Bledsoe, 24.51 pounds, $150
—12th: Greg Lamb and Mark Heatherley, 24.25 pounds, $150 

Richard Simms is a contributing writer, focusing on outdoor sports.

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