Robert Earl Woodard loves to catch large bass, and has caught several topping 10 pounds.
What's remarkable, though, is that the 63-year-old, retired Alabama cattle rancher ditched his rod and reel years ago and now catches all of his bass bare-handed, wriggling small baitfish through the water to entice the big fish.
"I've even used just my thumb," he said. "I move it through the water like a lure."
Footage of Woodard catching an estimated 12-pound bass posted recently to Facebook garnered more than 500,000 views and inspired dozens of comments.
Woodard created the Facebook page to promote his book, "The Way it Was Back Then, Short Stories from a Country Boy."
In a phone interview, the fisherman said that he feeds the bass on his private 5-acre lake daily, which explains why he’s able to catch them with his bare hands.
Woodard also has invited several people over to give it a try and, he said, "not one of them has been able to do it."
Woodard’s passion has always been bass fishing. He used to travel throughout the South, targeting huge bass with a rod and reel.
"Then one day I decided that I wanted to catch one bare-handed," he said. "It was not on my private lake, so it was a challenge. I spent days pitching worms out there till this one particular fish started coming closer. It took me 2-3 weeks, but I caught that fish."
He said the largest bass he has caught on his private lake weighed 14 pounds, which is monstrous for an Alabama bass.
That was years ago. The bass, Woodard explained, has since died of old age. But the 12-pounder is still out there.
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