HARDY - James Edward Baker of West Monroe, La., capped an enjoyable vacation trip to the Spring River in north Arkansas by setting a new Arkansas record for shadow bass.
Baker landed a fish weighing 1 pound, 12 ounces while fishing at Spring River Oaks Campground on the river. This bested the existing record of 1 pound, 4 ounces set in 1994 by Sam Barkley of Jonesboro.
So, what is a shadow bass?
It’s one of several small members of the sunfish family. Some of these small or little-known varieties of bass are found only locally. In Arkansas, there are the fairly well-known warmouth, the Ozark bass and the shadow bass. The latter two are varieties of a species once called rock bass.
Baker was using an artificial minnow when he landed the record shadow bass, and he was fishing with Bryan Lee Baker, also of West Monroe.
Like most stories of record fish, Baker’s achievement has a twist to it. Arkansas fish record rules require the species to be verified by a professional fisheries person. Baker’s shadow bass was verified by the old record holder, Barkley, who is a district fisheries biologist with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The fish was weighed at PriceChopper Foods in Hardy and was witnessed by Melissa Jones, manager of the AGFC Spring River Hatchery at Mammoth Spring.