In recreational angling, the largemouth bass is king. No other species has an international following as massive and as dedicated as that of the largemouth bass.
Their global distribution, accessibility to anglers of all socio-economic levels, and renowned game fish characteristics have morphed the largemouth bass from simply a fish to a globally recognized icon of recreational angling.
Due to the historic and widespread popularity of the species, it should come as no surprise that obtaining a world record largemouth bass is nearly impossible. Nearly.
The following catches represent the biggest, most impressive and envied world records ever granted for largemouth bass.
George Perry - Montgomery Lake, GA
Here stands George Perry and the All-Tackle record largemouth bass. A colossal catch at a time when bass fishing was simply nothing more than a pass time. He set the bar for anglers across the globe to chase their dreams.
The All-Tackle record for largemouth bass is the most sought after game fish record in the world. It is the “holy grail” of fishing records. George Perry has held this prestigious title for nearly 83 years, since he pulled his massive 22-pound, 4-ounce fish from Montgomery Lake, Georgia on June 2, 1932.
Perry, a 20-year-old farmer at the time, decided to go fishing with longtime friend Jack Page. The two were taking turns with a single rod and reel, casting a Creek Chub Fintail Shiner from the wooden Jon boat Perry had built.
An interview from 1973 recorded Perry saying, “I thought I had hooked a log, but then the log started moving.”
After skillfully playing the fish out of a half-submerged treetop, Perry finally boated the fish which was bigger than anything he or Page had ever seen.
The two immediately beached the boat and headed for town. Later that day, the fish officially weighed in at 22 pounds, 4 ounces and soon after became the new benchmark for record chasing anglers around the world.
Seventy-seven years would pass before a fish comparable to Perry’s monster would be caught, but it has still yet to be surpassed.
Manabu Kurita - Lake Biwa, Japan
However, Perry’s sole ownership of this most prestigious record came to an end on July 2, 2009 when Japanese angler Manabu Kurita pulled his own 22-pound, 4-ounce largemouth from Lake Biwa in central Japan, after it ate a live bluegill that he had on for bait.
Although it occurred halfway around the world from where Perry’s fish was landed, news of the historic catch spread like wildfire through the angling world. And as word spread, so did the doubts.
After all, landing a fish that millions of anglers had pursued for nearly a century is not something to be taken lightly. As such, every detail of the catch and its submission was done under a microscope.
The IGFA and Japanese Game Fishing Association (JGFA) even went as far as to administer a polygraph test on Kurita to ensure the catch and submission was done by IGFA rules.
After months of rigorously reviewing the application, the IGFA granted Manabu Kurita his share of the “holy grail” – a tie for the coveted All-Tackle largemouth bass world record with George Perry.