Robert Earl Woodard is not your average bass fisherman. While most bass anglers use a rod and reel to seize prize-winning catches, Woodard uses his hands to “reel” in his bass.
In March, 2016, Woodard and his wife, Sharon, were out videoing one of his fishing expeditions when he landed a 16.03-lb bass in a private lake. As he brought the fish up and out of the water, he literally came “eye to eye” with the large-mouth bass.
After his video of that day “went viral” on sites such as viralhog and YouTube, and numerous fisherman were inquiring about how to catch such a large fish, Woodard was inspired to write his second book, “Eye to Eye with Big Bass.”
He said, “Everyone wanted to know how to build and manage trophy bass ponds, and how to catch prize-winning fish,” so he began to put it into words.
Using more than 50 years of knowledge he has gained, “Eye to Eye with Big Bass” helps people understand that farm pond management is a fine art. He not only provides pointers on how to manage a pond, but also discusses how to “grow big bass.”
He emphasized how important it is to understand fish movement, patterns, and how the water temperature and weather affect fish and effective farm pond management.
According to Woodard, it takes 12-14 years and a large investment of time and money to grow a big bass. He has several large-mouth “pets” in a private lake, and he does not allow anyone to fish in the lake.
Woodard noted, “Let’s protect our big bass with catch and release.” In fact, when he caught the 16+ lb. monster bass, his wife, who no longer appeared to be impressed with his massive haul said, “Let her go. She’s just another big fish.”
That quote is now a subtitle in his book.
Woodard, who has been catching bass with his hands since he was in his 20s, said of that March, 2016, catch, “The feeling of letting her go and keeping her healthy was just as exciting as catching her. I was so excited when she swam off to her freedom and being able to live out her natural life in our lake.”
“Eye to Eye with Big Bass” is available locally at the Blount County Memorial Museum and Charlie B’s, as well as on Amazon.
A signed copy of the book can also be obtained by sending $30 to Woodard at 318 Faust Road, Blountsville, AL 35031.
As part of the Blount County Bicentennial kickoff celebration, and in conjunction with the Blount County Historical Society meeting, Woodard will hold a book signing and discussion on farm management at the Frank Green Building on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 2 p.m.