World Record Largemouth Bass!
10:11 AM | Author: Tech Tactical

World Record Largemouth Bass Angler: George W. Perry
Caught: June 2, 1932
Weight: 22 pounds, 4 ounces
Location: Telfair County, Ga.
Lure: Creek Chub Fintail Shiner
Disposition: Cleaned and eaten

For 74 years, the persistent ghost of George W. Perry's world record largemouth bass has haunted its detractors. The problem, many have said, is that it's hard to swallow the story of the 22-pound, 4-ounce fish without being able to see it. Ever since the Georgia bass was landed on June 2, 1932, and later certified by Field & Stream magazine as the reigning world record, no photograph had been found to document the feat. Now a photo, salvaged from the personal effects of a distant Perry relative, has been found - taunting naysayers who believe the fish wasn't as big as it was said to be, or perhaps wasn't a largemouth bass at all.

"There is no doubt in my mind it's the world-record bass," said Bill Baab, who retired from The Augusta Chronicle in 2000 after 35 years as its outdoors editor - and who helped authenticate the mysterious snapshot. Baab knows plenty about Perry and his bass. In a recent book, Forbes senior writer Monte Burke refers to Baab as "the world's leading authority on the story of George Perry's fish, and the story's most tenacious guardian." The photo, likely taken near the post office and general store in Helena, Ga., was found by Waycross, Ga., resident Jerry Johnson while going through his late aunt's belongings. "The aunt was a relative of Perry's," Baab said. Johnson sent the photo to a Florida magazine editor, who in turn sent it to the International Game Fish Association, which ran the photo in its magazine, International Angler, last fall.

That's when Lee Howard, an IFGA member and fishing outfitter in Hiawassee, Ga., noticed the photo and launched a more detailed investigation. "Once Lee got involved, he was able to dig up the history," Baab said, noting that Howard used genealogical records to connect the Johnson and Perry families and made several trips to Telfair County, where the fish was caught. "He even showed the picture around in nursing homes to see if they recognized the people in it," he said.

The photo shows a man with a cigarette in his mouth holding the giant fish as a child poses in the foreground. Their identities, Baab said, remain a mystery, although there is a possibility that the "smoking man" could be Jack Page, the older companion Perry often named as his fishing partner that day on Montgomery Lake. Being caught in a small town in the Depression era, a big fish likely caused quite a stir that day, Baab said, theorizing that more than one photo could have been taken. "This one was taken and probably forgotten," he said. "People take pictures and put them in a family album and they're put on a shelf somewhere and nobody thinks about it anymore." Perry, a 20-year-old farmer, went fishing that day only because it was too wet to work in the fields. In a 1969 interview with Sports Afield, Perry recalled the famous strike: "All at once the water splashed everywhere. I do remember striking, then raring back and trying to reel, but nothing budged," he said. "I thought for sure I'd lost the fish, that he'd dived and hung me up.

" When they took the fish into town, someone mentioned Field & Stream's big fish contest, which spurred Perry to have the fish weighed and measured. He not only won the contest, and $75 in sporting equipment but also reeled in a place in history. Although Perry's record still stands, an even larger bass was caught in April 2006 in California, but the angler opted not to submit the fish as a new record because it was foul-hooked, contrary to state law. That fish, caught by Mac Weakley, weighed 25 pounds, 1 ounce and was released. The Perry fish photo is a logical conclusion to the discovery several years ago of correspondence between Perry and the Creek Chub Bait Co. of Garrett, Ind., who manufactured the Fintail Shiner lure used to land the big bass.

One letter in particular, dated June 3, 1935, hinted that there might have been photos taken after all: "You will remember that in 1932 I landed the present worlds (sic) record Large Mouth Black Bass that weighed 221/4 pounds," Perry wrote to Creek Chub. "You will also remember me sending you a photo of the 221/4-pound bass. "The photo was, however, not a real good photo," Perry continued. "I now have a real good picture of myself and the Big Bass together, so if you would like to have a copy, I will be pleased to let you use it in your advertising." All Perry asked for in return was a handful of Creek Chub lures. In a response dated later that month, Creek Chub accepted Perry's offer. "We would like to have a picture of the big bass you mention for our files and will be glad to reimburse you for it," the company wrote.

However, the company's records contain no record of having used or published such a photo. Perry spent his adult years in Brunswick, Ga., where he became a self-taught pilot and businessman. He died in 1974, at the age of 61, when the plane he was flying crashed into a hillside near Birmingham, Ala. With him died the remaining details of his famous catch.

Full Article:
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Another George Perry Article: World Record Bass

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1 comments:

On July 6, 2009 at 5:08 PM , Steve vonBrandt said...

New world record from Japan is at my site now. 22.5 pounds. pending IGFA certification which is happening now. Delaware Trophy Bass http://delawaretrophybass.com