High Rock Lake is one of the most-heavily pressured reservoirs within North Carolina's borders. At least a dozen bass tournaments a week run out of the various marinas and boat landings around the 15,000-acre impoundment, and even with catch-and-release, a 10-pound bass is as rare as a hen's tooth.

So what about an 11-pounder?   

Alvin Williams of Huntersville caught one this past Sunday afternoon – while crappie fishing in Second Creek.   

The mammoth largemouth, caught on ultra light tackle and a crappie jig, was 25-1/4 inches long, 22-3/8 inches in girth. At Hill's Minnow Farm, the bass weighed 11.2 pounds, or roughly 11 pounds, four ounces.   

Williams was fishing in a small boat with Gerald Willkie of Mocksville, not far off the bank from the Willkie family's lake house. The pair had caught nothing fishing the previous evening and had fished all day Sunday with only one bite: a 2-pound bass that Williams lost at the side of the boat.

"They'd already hollered at us from the bank that the Boston butt his dad had been cooking was ready, and we were about to go in," Williams said. "We'd kind of turned the boat around, and I was still casting to this bank. I had probably thrown in that same area about 20 times, and several times, I felt like I was getting some small hits; I thought it might be some bream or crappie that weren't getting hooked. I said the next time I felt one, I was going to really set the hook on him, and I did."   

Williams was fishing with an ultra light Bass Pro Shops spinning combo spooled with 4-pound test, tipped with a tiny lead head jig and a 2-inch Sassy Shad-type grub.   

Williams originally thought he'd set the hook on a limb or a log, but then, it began to swim away from the bank. The fish never surfaced, even though it was only two feet deep when hooked. In fact, Williams figured he had a catfish on the line.   

"She stayed down for a while, running drag out but never coming out of the water," he said. "I thought I had about a 5-pound catfish."   

Still unseen, the fish ran under the boat and actually had Williams' 4-pound test mono rubbing against the anchor rope, but they got that taken care of. Finally, the fish surfaced next to the boat, and Williams and Willkie were aghast.   

"He got the net and tried to scoop her up before he could see here, then she came up where we could see her, and he said, 'That's the biggest largemouth bass I've ever seen," Williams said. "He got the net down and she swam right into it."   

With the bass safely in the boat, Williams and Willkie headed to the bank. Williams carried it to Hill's Minnow Farm to weigh, figuring he had an 8- or 9-pound fish. The scales called it 11.2, however, making it one of the biggest bass ever caught out of High Rock.   

The unofficial lake record bass was an 11-pound, 10-ounce linker caught on March 1, 1974 by Tony Garitta, a columnist for North Carolina Sportsman. Garitta, who has been the outdoors editor for the nearby Lexington Dispatch for more than three decades, said he doesn't know of another bass from High Rock with a confirmed weight of more than 11 pounds since he caught his lake-record fish more than 35 years ago.   

"There have been one or two since then, but there has always been controversy about them," Garitta said. "I think there was one that was supposed to be the state record, but it turned out something wasn't right about it, and there was one that was supposed to be more than 11, but I think it turned out to have been caught in a farm pond."