Dasan Hill was sad when he woke up April 3 to the sound of rain hitting his bedroom window in Grapevine.I thought it was storming, said the 7-year-old fisherman. But then I realized it wasnt and my dad said, Were gonna go on the boat.A persistent cold drizzle couldnt discourage the kid who last year, at age 6, more than doubled his goal of catching 100 bass. A year later his goal had changed from quantity to quality, said his dad, Ryan Hill. The towheaded tyke coveted Lake Grapevines junior angler largemouth bass record.Set in June 2009 by a girl named Morgan Bennett, the 1.2-pound, 13-inch record was ripe for landing. Dasan who aspires to be a professional fisherman and TV star like Justin Rackley, host of Big Bass Battle on NBC Sports knew it was only a matter of fishing the right spot.So, wearing nylon hoodie jackets to counter the weather, father and son set out from their lakeside home for a secret cove favored by the big ones. Within five to 10 minutes, Dasan hooked that record-breaking fish. Unfortunately, it was 16 inches long.We thought it was big, but it ended up being a slot fish, Dasan said. So we had to throw it back.At Lake Grapevine, bass that measure in the slot between 14 and 18 inches must be released. Dasan was disappointed, but only for a minute. The boys very next cast using the same yellow spinner bait hooked an even bigger bass, said his dad, who is a national marketing manager for Boy Scouts of America.Naturally, the bigger fish had extra fight in him, but Dasan was patiently determined to bring it on board.When he finally got it in the boat, we were yelling, and high-fiving and fist-pumping because we could tell it would stand up as his personal best and as the junior lake record, he said.Keeping the fish healthy in the boats live well, the Hill boys took it to Bass Pro Shops to be measured and weighed for certification through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Then, like a true sport fisherman, Dasan took the bass back to Grapevine and released it.Ron Smith, TPWDs angler recognition program director, said the fishs 5.62 pounds and 21 inches were good enough not only for the junior-water-body record for rod and reel, but also for the catch-and-release record and a big fish award.Im convinced that the measurement is pretty good, all the witnesses are there, so Im going to certify this one, he said.Thats a certificate thats destined for Dasans bedroom wall, where a big mounted bass already hangs. Ryan Hill said hes having another bass mount made based on the dimensions and photos of the record-breaker.Hell be the only 7-year-old in town with two largemouth bass on his wall, he said.Dasan said he wont be satisfied until there are about four more.After he lands five trophy-class game fish, the state will recognized Dasan as an elite angler, his dad said.The thought of all those finny decorations didnt thrill the boys mom, Kim Hill. But shed rather put up with fish on the walls than have a child whose only interests are video games.Its cool to see him pursue the things hes passionate about, she said. Hes usually shy, but when it comes to fishing hell talk to anyone about it.Dasans conversations now frequently center on smallmouth bass. The Lake Grapevine all-age record is 4.75 pounds and 21 inches, caught in May 2006 by Mike McDonald, according to the TPWD database.But there is no junior angler smallmouth record, so as soon as Dasan hooks one thats at least 18 inches, the records his. His plan is simple.To catch a smallmouth Ill have to use a crank bait or a rattle trap and fish close to the dam or Twin Coves, he said.And, short of a thunderstorm, nothing will keep him from going.
Terry Evans, 817-390-7620 Twitter: @fwstevans