The International Game Fish Association announced Friday afternoon that Japanese angler Manabu Kurita's catch of a 22-pound, 4-ounce largemouth bass back in July has been formally accepted as tying George Perry's 77-year-old world record for the species. Jason Schratwieser, IGFA's conservation director, made the announcement live on bassmaster.com. Perry's record catch also weighed 22-4. Under IGFA regulations a fish must exceed the previous record by two ounces in order to supplant it.
"This record has been on everybody's radar for a substantial amount of time," Schratwieser said. "Officially at IGFA, we have to wait 90 days to accept or reject a record. More time has elapsed, but we have not been sitting idly by. There has been quite a bit of correspondence back and forth with the angler and with our sister organization, the Japan Game Fish Association. We have issued quite a number of affidavits to the angler to the fisheries officials in Japan. It has been formally accepted and does tie George Perry's 77-year-old record for largemouth bass."
Kurita, of Aichi, Japan, caught the monster largemouth from Lake Biwa, an ancient reservoir northeast of Kyoto. He was trolling a live bluegill through a canal. The record application showed that the fish weighed 10.12 kilograms (22 pounds, 4 ounces), measured 27.20 inches in length and had a girth measurement (around the widest part of the fish) of 26.77 inches.
Perry's catch was made June 2, 1932 at Montgomery Lake in Georgia. It was caught using a Creek Chub artificial lure and measured 32 1/2 inches long with a 28 1/2-inch girth. Considered by many to be the "Holy Grail" of fishing, it was weighed at a general store in Helena, Ga., and entered in Field and Stream's Big Fish Contest. Perry was 20 years old and the family's primary breadwinner, and the fish was cleaned and cooked with the family feeding on it for three days.
Perry's prize package for winning the Field and Stream contest included a rod and reel and was valued at $100; Kurita will probably net more than $1 million over time because of his catch.
IGFA (www.igfa.org) is headquartered in Dania Beach, Fla., and has been recognized as the official keeper of world saltwater fishing records since it was founded in 1939. In 1978, Field and Stream magazine transferred its 68 years of freshwater record-keeping to IGFA.
Largemouth bass are native to North America and have been introduced to many countries, including Japan, where in 1925 a Japanese businessman reportedly imported 90 largemouth bass and stocked them into the Ashino Lake. But it took many years before largemouth bass fishing caught on, and Japanese officials consider largemouth an invasive species. Japan's official largemouth bass record is 19.15 pounds. The South Carolina state record is 16 pounds, 2 ounces.
Anglers have been chasing Perry's record for decades, and many catches have come close in recent years, most often from California. In fact, a California angler accidentally foul-hooked a fish that was reported to weigh 25 pounds, but snagging a fish is illegal in that state and the fish was released.
--It wasn't an official record, but during the past deer season 9-year-old Durst Payne, son of Robert and Amanda Payne of Mount Pleasant, bagged his first and second white-tail deer with a single shot while hunting with his grandfather, Durst Payne Jr. of Isle of Palms at Backwoods Quail Club in Georgetown. The two had made frequent trips to the rifle range where the grandfather instructed his protege in gun safety and responsible hunting.