Largemouth Bass State and World Records
The world record for the Largemouth bass currently is tied at 22 pounds 4 ounces. Two anglers from a completely different time and place share the record.
In 1932, 20 year old George Perry caught the 22 pound monster in Montgomery Lake in Telfair County, Georgia. Montgomery Lake was an oxbow lake off the Ocmulgee River, and is not much of a lake anymore. Perry took photos of the fish, submitted it to the record books, and ate the fish the day he caught it! He caught it on a Chub Fintail Shiner (if anybody even knows what that is).
In 2009, Japan’s Manabu Kurita tied the record in Lake Biwa, Japan. He used a live bluegill and caught the record on his first cast towards an old piling where he saw a large fish foraging. Here is the video of his weigh-in.
Technically, Manabu Kurita's bass weighed more than George Perry's bass. However, the margin between the fish weights is so small that the IGFA deemed them equal & a tie. Differing scales may have played a part in the weighing and lack of certainty with true weight.
State Records for Largemouth Bass
Here’s all the states and a few surrounding countries. Who knows where the next fish will come from? What is interesting is that on average the state record was caught in 1983. So on average, the state record is 29 years old! Only two state record fish have been caught later than 2000. We haven’t been catching as many records as we were in the past. As angling pressure increases, old and large fish become more and more watchful of fake lures and are caught much less or not at all.
Dottie: Close, but no Cigar
In the trophy bass category, there is a story of near success with Dottie (they call her Dottie because of a unique spot on her gill), the almost record breaker from Dixon Lake, California. In 2003, she was first caught off her spawning bed and was weighed immediately at 23 pounds. However, it took three hours for fish and game to get to the site where she officially weighed 21 pounds 11 ounces. Jed Dickerson, who caught the fish, claimed the three hour wait stressed the fish and it shed some weight in the time.
Jed and his friends scoured the lake year after year waiting for Dottie to show up in her typical spawning grounds (the only time they stood a chance at catching her). In 2006 she was caught again, and tipped the scales at 25 pounds and 1 ounce! However, she was foul hooked and the record would not stand. Jed and his friends spent day after day searching for her to no avail. To end the story, Dottie was found dead floating in Dixon Lake in 2008—the record that never recorded.
Catching Trophy Sized Bass
Catching a trophy bass is almost all about where you fish. Most don’t know that there are two species of largemouth bass. The normal largemouth (Micropterus salmoides salmoides) at maximum can grow to around 13 pounds. But the Florida strain largemouth (Micropterus salmoides floridanus) can grow even larger, but only exists in year-round warm waters primarily in the south. A true trophy needs to be a Florida strain fish. In addition, hot southern waters allow bass to have a longer growing season and reach larger sizes.
Fish never stop growing, so catching the biggest usually means catching the oldest. This can be quite troublesome. These goliath bass have seen all the tricks, it is going to take a real display of prey imitation to get a bite from these fish (or try live bait). Some bass have grown so accustomed to seeing lures that they immediately flee the area as soon as the cast hits the water (that’s a little concerning isn’t it?). It is hard to say what will catch the next record or if it will be caught at all. Banana-sized swimbaits seem to be doing well for trophy sized fish. With all the fish stocking programs out there, big bass have learned to feed on planter trout—these clueless fish are free food for the big bass and 10” trout-imitating swim lures have been showing strong trophy catches.
Update: 2013 World Record Largemouth Bass?
Recently Patrick Sebile (no ordinary fisherman) caught a world record quality largemouth bass on Lake Okeechobee, Florida. The fish measured 24.016 inches, beating the previous world record of 23.228 inches. This catch has been getting a lot of buzz, but typically the world record most sought after is the record of weight, not length. The records for weight mentioned above remain the golden standard for world record bass enthusiasts.