Innovative Lincoln County angler uses hatchet to snare prized catch

Every once in a while something special grabs hold of your bait and bends your fishing rod over so hard that it causes adrenaline to surge through your veins as your heart races to keep up.

I can't help but think that's what happened when Lincoln County resident Don Gent hooked into a large German brown trout while ice fishing at Eagle Valley Reservoir on Monday.

Eagle Valley Reservoir is nestled in a narrow cut at the bottom of Spring Valley, about 20 miles east of Pioche. It's a popular fishery that offers good action for stocked rainbow trout, tiger trout and finicky brown trout. The impoundment even hosts a few largemouth bass, the result of an illegal fish plant by some wannabe fisheries biologist.

Most of the trout anglers pull from Eagle Valley range from 10 to 12 inches in length, though fish up to 16 inches sometimes surrender to temptation and swallow someone's bait, lure or fly. But there always seems to be an exception to the rule. Just ask Gent.

The fish that swallowed Gent's bait Monday was so large that he couldn't pull it through the 8-inch hole he had drilled through the ice. So, according to reports, Gent grabbed the fish behind the gills and hung on while trying to enlarge the hole with a hatchet. Seeing his predicament, nearby anglers offered their assistance, and Gent got a chance to see what was on the end of his line. Only to his surprise the line had broken during his struggle with the ice.

Gent's prize turned out to be a 28-inch brown that weighed in at 9.35 pounds and could be a record for Eagle Valley Reservoir. The current record weighed in at 9 pounds, 2 ounces and measured 26.75 inches long. Dee Thomas of Caliente caught that fish in October 1994.

WORLD RECORD SHARED -- On the subject of records, the bass fishing world finally received the news it has been waiting for when the International Game Fish Association announced its decision regarding the status of Manabu Kurita's record book application for the large bass he reeled in while fishing in Japan's Lake Biwa in July.

Kurita's 22-pound, 4.96-ounce largemouth won't break the 77-year-old world record, but it will share the top spot. Officially, the IGFA has named Kurita and George Perry as dual holders of the all-tackle record for largemouth bass. Kurita was using 25-pound test when he caught the record fish, so he is ineligible for a line class record. The large bass hammered a live bluegill the 32-year-old angler was using as bait.

Perry caught his fish in June 1932 at Lake Montgomery near Jacksonville, Ga.

SHOOT, AUCTION TO BENEFIT SCOUTS -- The third annual Las Vegas Area Council Sporting Clays Classic will be Friday and Saturday to benefit the local Boy Scouts of America chapter.

Starting off the event will be a complimentary reception and auction at 7 p.m. Friday at Land Rover of Las Vegas. The reception is open to the public, and attendees will have the chance to bid on firearms, outdoor equipment, trips and other items. A drawing for a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 .22-caliber rifle also will take place.

Shooting and demonstrations will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at Desert Hills Shooting Club.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His "In the Outdoors" column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at