We all know how the story goes. Dad, or the rooster, whoever was up first, waking you at 5 a.m. on a Saturday for a nice, long day of sitting and waiting — and, if you’re lucky, the occasional tug of war with a particularly petulant fish. Crossing out other types of fish on your bucket list, if you’re really, really lucky.
We’ve all heard the stories of anglers’ mighty struggles with a monster catch, but it’s no secret that fishing is a lot tamer than it’s made out to be. Moments of action are few and far between.
Nevertheless, dear old dad loved to entertain you with these grandiose stories saying one day it would be you two they would tell stories about. As you sat there, fishing rod in hand, nearing the six-hour mark, you weren’t so sure. But, seeing the smile on his face, you didn’t have the heart to break it to him.
But now, now you’re grown and tea time with dad is over. No longer are the days of catching meager dinks — no, we’re talking bass. And not just any bass, we’re talking about lunkers that might just reel you in rather than the other way around.
So, get the candy on the line! I’ve got something in store for you daring lot looking to brave the open waters in search of something that would make old dad proud. Here are a few of the world’s biggest bass records to look out for.
Let’s start things off with a bang — the official world record largemouth bass. At 22 pounds and 4 ounces, this largemouth bass is nothing short of a monster. Angler George Perry caught the beast while on Georgia’s Montgomery Lake in 1932. Perry’s catch held the record just short of 8 decades, from 1932 to 2010.
The impressive catch may have also won Perry other titles, such as first place at the Field & Stream Big Fish Contest, but he profited very little from his world record catch. It is reported that a mere 75 dollars, about 700 dollars today, worth in gear from the Big Fish Contest was the extent of the profit he made from his famous largemouth bass.
Perry’s catch may not have earned him much financial success, but it brought him glory for years to come. In 2007, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division put up a commemorative plaque to mark the 75th anniversary of Perry’s world record catch.
While this next catch is not technically a world record largemouth bass, it did come close. I know, I know — close only counts in horseshoes. But as far as world records go, this next catch came closer than a hair on a hog. Or, in this case, an ounce on a fish.
On July 2, 2009, Japanese angler Manabu Kurita caught a largemouth bass on Lake Biwa weighing in at a whopping 22 pounds and 5 ounces. The lunker outweighed George Perry’s catch by an ounce but could not become the new official world record because the guidelines state the previous record must be beat by at least 2 ounces.
Kurita’s bass may not have become the new official world record, despite outweighing Perry’s 1932 catch, but is considered to have tied Perry’s achievement.
You know what they say, it’s all about the largemouth bass. Nevertheless, we can’t forget to show a little love to the smallmouth bass community. Weighing in at 11 pounds and 15 ounces, the official world record smallmouth bass was caught by David Hayes on the Dale Hallow Reservoir in Tennessee in 1955.
This famous body of water is known for producing the top 3 world record smallmouth bass ever recorded. Being as the Dale Hallow Reservoir is seemingly teeming with remarkable smallmouth bass, many have gone out in hopes of catching a world record of their own. But it seems some folks would rather put their efforts into trying to take someone else’s title away.
Rumors that Hayes’ catch was illegitimate arose and spread like wildfire. To fuel the fire, a written statement claiming that lead had been added to Hayes’ catch for weighing came about. Hayes held the All-Tackle title for 41 years before the document was uncovered by the IGFA in 1996, resulting in his record being retired for a time.
While the credibility of Hayes’ record was tried, angler John Gorman set a new record with his 10-pound, 14-ounce smallmouth bass and was awarded the All-Tackle title. Long live the king! Right? Not so fast. While Gorman’s life has spanned many years, his reign did not.
A few years and several polygraph tests later, it was concluded that the written statement denouncing Hayes’ record was falsified. In the end, Hayes’ record was reinstated, and he continues to hold the All-Tackle title. Say it with me now, “long live the king!”
I’ve always been a fan of patterns. So, let’s talk stripes! The official International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world record striped bass, caught in August 2011 on Long Island Sound between Connecticut and New York, weighed an impressive 18 pounds and 14 ounces.
Myerson says he fought with the toad for 15 minutes, slipping and hurting his ribs in the process. No pain, no gain, am I right? He says it was all worth it when he got the monster on board.
He couldn’t believe his eyes and asked himself over and over whether the bass was really that big. After taking the catch to be weighed the following morning, his suspicions were confirmed. It was indeed that big.
Myerson’s catch made him the new All-Tackle striped bass record holder; a title previously held for 29 years by Albert Reynolds.
Onto more patterns – spots! My favorite. The official world record spotted bass, caught by angler Nick Dulleck, weighed 11 pounds and 4 ounces, beating the previous record by nearly a pound.
What’s the saying… third time’s the charm? Well in this case, it might’ve been closer to the 3,000th time. Dulleck had been fishing for over 20 years before catching his record shattering bass on February 12, 2017 on New Bullards Bar Reservoir in Northern California.
Famous for producing massive spotted bass, including the previous world record catch caught by Timothy Little in 2015, New Bullards Bar Reservoir is a top location to soak bait.
In case you haven’t found any of these catches particularly thrilling, worry not, because I’ve saved the best for last. I leave you with a piece on the biggest bass ever caught. That’s right. In 2006, on Lake Dixon in California, Mac Weakley caught a largemouth bass reported to be the world’s biggest bass ever recorded at 25 pounds and 0.16 ounces.
Why doesn’t Weakley hold the official world record, you ask? Well, it seems there’s one thing Mr. Weakley may have forgotten to mention to his son on their fishing trips – snagging is frowned upon and, well, illegal in several states.
In Weakley’s defense, it was determined the 25-pound bass was unintentionally foul-hooked. Phewf! A relief, indeed. However, foul-hooking, intentional or not, makes a catch ineligible to become a world record, which was the case for Weakley.
I never said there’d be a happy ending!