Merced County resident and Cal Fire battalion chief Mark Lawson poses with the largemouth black bass he pulled from Lake McClure on Saturday.
The monster bass weighed 15 pounds, 2 ounces, measured 24 inches in girth and was 26 1/2 inches long, according to Lawson.
The fish, a personal best and just short of a lake record, was snared on an 8-pound test line near Temperance Creek.
The catch was witnessed by Al Lawson, Mark's father and photographer, and was released back into the water:
'Considering how many years it takes a fish to get that big, I just wanted it to live another day, and maybe make somebody else's day when they catch it.'