11-year-old hooked on fishing during pandemic snags big bass

Christian Baker, 11, is proud of the 8-pound bass he hooked in a pond near his home in Viera.


If there is a tiny sliver of positive vibe about the pandemic, it is that it has revealed some interesting aspects of our personalities.

For 11-year-old Christian Baker, it is his awe-inspiring fishing aptitude.

The young angler recently landed a big largemouth bass just a few steps from his Viera home. The fish weighed in at more than 8 pounds, which will make for an enduring fish tale for years ahead.

Before you think the kid must have inherited his skills from his family, think again.

“Pre-COVID, no one ever fished,” said James Baker, Christian’s dad.

When the pandemic arrived, Christian and his friends were looking for something to do during the long, boring days of lockdown. In a lightbulb moment, he looked at the myriad ponds, many of them interconnected, that are an important part of the area landscape, and figured fishing could well be the answer.

“He taught himself fishing by watching YouTube,” said his dad.

The boy earned his fishing gear by babysitting his sister and doing household chores. A $15 fishing rod from Walmart, some plastic lures, and he was set to tackle the world beneath the water.

“He goes fishing every day for a couple of hours after he finishes his homework,” Baker said.

Before hitting the jackpot with the 8-pound bass, Christian had caught his share of bluegill and even landed a 7-pound bass. The ponds in Viera are stocked primarily with these two species of fish, although some alligator gar also can be found.

The little bodies of water have become popular hangouts for kids, and even some adults.

“You see a lot of kids fishing, even around the ponds off Stadium Parkway,” Baker said.

The young anglers are keeping tabs of their catch through a Facebook page.

If you are concerned about the fate of Christian’s super fish, there is no need to worry. Fishing in Viera is strictly catch-and-release, so this bruiser of a bass is happily back in the water.

If you have aspirations of hooking him yourself, you are on your own. Christian and his friends are keeping mum on the location.