You'll never see signs along U.S. 41 near Oshkosh telling you to take the Winneconne exit to see Wisconsin's record yellow bass on display.
Even so, the 2-pound, 4.3-ounce yellow bass that Casey Bloom caught April 21 in the Wolf River by the Winneconne bridge might be as rare and impressive as any big muskie, bear or buck mounted above a Wisconsin bar.
It's just a matter of perspective. Consider:
Bloom's fish measured 15 inches long, nearly twice the length of most yellow bass. And at 2 pounds, 4.3 ounces, it's about four times the species' average weight. That's a trophy by anyone's standard.
» This yellow bass is also 2.3 ounces heavier than the previous state record, a 2-pound, 2-ounce giant caught more than 40 years ago by Madison's Jim Thrun while ice fishing on Lake Monona. Thrun's fish, caught Jan. 18, 1972, measured 14.4 inches.
» Yellow bass are uncommon in Wisconsin. In fact, the Winnebago System — which includes the Wolf River in Winneconne — is about as far north as yellow bass live. Unless you regularly fish the Mississippi River, Winnebago System or Madison chain of lakes, you probably haven't caught one.
» Unlike their cousin the white bass, yellow bass don't produce eye-popping hatches that can dominate a lake-river system for years. Therefore, anglers seldom fill stringers or coolers with them.