At one time or another, you’ve probably run into that old-time angler who talks about that mythical, mammoth bass that he once pulled in with a bobber rig on a bamboo fishing pole. Despite all the campfire stories, catching a world record bass (world record fish of any kind) is a surprisingly rare thing.
To prove the point, the largest bass ever recorded was caught by George Perry in 1932. It weighed a jaw-dropping 22 pounds and 4 ounces. It ended up being weighed at a local post office and was surely the talk of the town for years to come.
It’s been almost a century since the day George Perry walked into the post office with a bass nearly as big as his young son. The record has yet to be broken, and it just goes to show— some records simply aren’t made to be broken, at least not yet.
World Record Bass Fish
As it happens, George Perry’s catch was a largemouth bass that he caught on a creek chub, fintail shiner lure in 1932. While Geroge Perry’s record for the world’s largest largemouth bass has never been broken, it has been tied.
In fact, the tying largemouth was caught in a country the fish isn’t even native to—Japan. Lake Biwa was home to this record-tying monster, and Manabu Kurita just happened to be the man of the moment.
While pictures exist of Manabu Kurita’s largemouth bass, the record was only confirmed through the use of a polygraph test. Sure, it’s a strange enough way to go about confirming a record-tying fish but the IGFA (International Game Fish Association) accepted the confirming polygraph test as a legitimate method for confirming the size and weight of the catch.
Now, there are an amazing number of tips out there on how you can catch your very own, world-record, largemouth bass. But seeing as George Perry caught his with 1932 gear while fishing for his supper and Kurita caught his when there weren’t supposed to be any largemouth bass in Lake Biwa, good luck.
Biggest smallmouth bass ever caught
The world record on smallmouth bass is controversial. According to IGFA, David Hayes owns the world record for the largest smallmouth bass in the world at 11 pounds and 5 ounces. David hauled it out of Dale Hollow Reservoir, which has a knack for producing mammoth smallmouth.
There is no information on the lure he used, but apparently, the dock owner that weighed the fish later signed a sworn affidavit that he had thrown in a lead weight when weighing David’s catch.
For a time, thanks to the affidavit and endless rumors, Hayes’ smallmouth was wiped from the record books, and John Gorman came along, catching a world record smallmouth that weighed 10 pounds, 14 ounces.
Once again, a polygraph test stood above everything else, returning David Hayes’ record smallmouth to the top of the list, where it’s remained to this day. Dale Hollow has produced the top 3 smallmouth bass in the world, so it’s a pretty popular spot for those seeking to break the controversial record.
World Record Rock Bass
The world record for rock bass is a tie between two people. The first was a 3lb rock bass caught in Ontario, Canada by Peter Gulgin in 1974. The second was caught in Lake Erie, Pennsylvania by Herbert Ratner Jr., a man who holds 175 records in the IFGA record book.
Herbert Ratner Jr holds 175 records and 20 current records over 23 years, including the rock bass in 1982 and a 255lb tiger shark that he caught on a 6lb test. How that’s possible is a true head-scratcher, but it’s in the IFGA books.
Ratner went on to break multiple world records catching peacock bass. He even made a world record catch and broke his world record catch on the same day, all with peacock bass. So Herbert Ratner is no stranger to catching bass and breaking records.
Although Peter Gulgin caught the world record rock bass in 1974, it remains his sole contribution to the IFGA record book. Either he never went on to catch any other record-breaking fish, or it was the only one he ever bothered to record.
Black Sea Bass World Record
Alan Paschall holds the record for the world’s largest black sea bass. There is no controversy with this one. Alan reeled in his catch in Virginia, on New Year’s Day 22 and a half years ago.
While numerous states have featured black sea bass records close to Alan’s world record catch, it remains elusive. Some people confuse black bass with rock bass because the black bass is also known as a rockbass (all one word, however).
Texas Largemouth Bass Record
No one thinks of Texas as a very watery state, but it’s home to 1.2 million acres of water, of which Lake Fork seems to own most of the big records. Of course, it was Lake Fork where Barry St. Clair reeled in a state record largemouth bass at 18 pounds.
Barry made his historic catch in 1992. Lake Fork owns a lot of records in the state of Texas, and largemouth bass is one of them. The lake is known for producing huge largemouth, and it’s probably the best place to be if you’re chasing Barry’s record catch.
Barry didn’t use anything crazy, just a live minnow at about 40’ depth. The largemouth couldn’t resist the bait, and the rest is history.
They say that records are made to be broken. But some of these records have stood against time in defiance of such sayings, and may continue for decades more before someone has a lucky day.
Although the records are hard to break, anglers are still reeling in state records and otherwise large bass of all kinds, every day. It may be that it’s just a matter of time, but George Perry’s 1932 catch still stands, with the closest attempt coming from a very obscure place for largemouth bass.
Visit the OutdoorWorld Reviews homepage for more expert information and guides!