Adventure Guide: Reeling in a “Big One”

It’s every fisherman’s dream to reel in a “big one”. A fish so large, so beautiful, it breaks records and inspires fables. It’s not for the glory, it’s for the adventure. But, how do you know if you’ve reeled in a truly big fish? 

At Splashway Campground, we have a catch-and-release pond, fully stocked with Bluegill Perch, Green Sunfish, Largemouth and Spotted Bass, and the largest freshwater sportfish in Texas – the Blue Catfish. To know if what you’ve reeled in constitutes a “big one”, you’ll need to know the average sizes and weights for each.

Let’s start with the smaller catches, perfect for little ones!

Bluegill Perch

These little fish are identifiable by their colorful bellies, ranging from yellow to bright orange. They also notably have a black spot at the base of their dorsal fin or towards the back of their gills.

Average Size & Weight: 4-10 inches, around 2.6lbs

A BIG ONE: 12-16 inches

Their maximum size is 16 inches long and the largest weight ever recorded was 4 pounds 12 ounces. In Texas, the record is 12.5 inches, 2.02lbs.

Green Sunfish

Despite their name, these little fish are not entirely green. In fact, they can appear blue-green in color, with flecks of yellow on their sides. The best way to differentiate them from the Bluegill is by the shape of their snout. Unlike the short, flat face of a Bluegill, the Green Sunfish has an elongated snout.

Average Size & Weight: 3-7 inches, around 1lb

A BIG ONE: 8-12 inches

The largest Green Sunfish every recorded was 12 inches in length and weighed 2.2lbs! In Texas, the record is 11 inches, 1.3lbs.

Next up, we’re talking all about bass. While you might not think much of the average weights, these fish are sure to put up a fight as you reel them in!

Spotted Bass

The smaller of the two types of bass you can find at Splashway is the Spotted Bass. They’re a slender fish with a greenish color to them and dark stripes along the sides.

Average Size & Weight: 10-13 inches, around 4-5lbs

A BIG ONE: 15-25 inches

The largest Spotted Bass ever recorded weighed over 11lbs and was 24 inches in length. In Texas, the record is 21 inches, 5.56lbs.

Largemouth Bass

This popular sporting fish shouldn’t be hard to find in our pond! It’s identifiable by its olive green coloring and its protruding lower jaw, giving it somewhat of an underbite.

Average Size & Weight: 14-18 inches, 12lbs

A BIG ONE: 19-30 inches

The record for biggest Largemouth Bass catch is currently 29.5 inches in length, with an unofficial weight of 25lbs. In Texas, the record is 25.5 inches, 18.18 lbs.

Finally, the largest freshwater sportfish in Texas, the Blue Catfish.

Blue Catfish

This is the largest species of North American catfish, with heavyset body shape and blue to gray coloring.

Average Size & Weight: 25-45 inches, 20-40lbs

A BIG ONE: 50+ inches or 40+ pounds

The largest recorded Blue Catfish weighed in at 130lbs and was 57 inches long. In Texas, the record holder goes to a 58-inch catfish weighing 121.5lbs. Wow! That is a seriously BIG FISH!

Before you grab your reel and head to the pond, check out these tips from Texas Parks & Wildlife on how to properly measure a fish. Want to learn more about current Texas fishing records? Check out the state freshwater records!

While you may not find any trophy winners swimming beneath the surface of our fishing pond, you’re bound to find some sizeable fish! The Splashway record stands at 31lbs for our largest catfish caught and 5lbs for our largest bass. Even though they’re still growing, reeling them in is sure to be an adventure for you and your little ones.

What are you waiting for? Adventure awaits, only at Splashway.