Picture adds intrigue to world record bass

More intrigue was added to the most coveted fishing record in the world. The Augusta Chronicle in Augusta, Georgia this week published this photo, believed to be legendary angler George W. Perry and the world record largemouth bass he caught in June 2, 1932.

You can read the Chronicle’s story HERE.

Perry’s story is one of bass lore. Although the catch has stood as the certified world record largemouth for 81 years, no pictures were ever seen of the giant. Over the years there were rumors photos of the fish might exist. Perry, a quiet man who was a pilot and mechanic in Georgia, even indicated a couple of pictures were taken after the fish was weighed. The fish is long gone since Perry ate it the day he caught it. There was enough left of the 22 pound, four ounce monster to make a second meal the next day. Such action would be sacrilege today, but in 1932 the Great Depression was on and any meal was a good meal.

Longtime Georgia outdoor writer Bill Baab received the picture from an unknown e-mail address. It was tagged only, “Happy Anniversary.” Baab wrote a book about the beloved Perry who died in a plane crash in Alabama in 1974. He confirms the man is Perry, but there’s no way to know if the fish is the legendary record.

The largemouth bass is the most popular game fish in North America. Anglers spend millions of dollars annually on bass fishing alone. Bass fishing tournaments are a growing sport and countless hours of TV time and other media resources herald its popularity.

Perry’s record is special. It’s one many trophy hunting fishermen spend thousands of hours and millions of dollars pursuing.  It’s always been amazing to me how this record has lasted for 81 years. A Japanese fisherman reportedly tied the record a few years ago, but its still not been broken despite the technology and vast knowledge we have today about the habits of the largemouth bass.

No other fish has garnered so much attention. When and if the record is ever broken, the fisherman who catches it will be an instantly millionaire, especially if he can keep it alive. Places like Bass Pro Shop would spend big dollars to put such a fish into an aquarium. Lure makers and tackle companies would jump at the chance to add their name to the biggest bass every caught. The angler, much like Perry, would become an overnight celebrity on the fishing circuit.

The new photo may or may not be the fish of legend, we’ll never know. I like that. The world needs legends and the mystery which surrounds the magical and somewhat mythical record fish is a good one.  It keeps all of us interested and intrigued.

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