The allure of catching a giant bass keeps us coming back trip after trip and venturing out into the unknown on stormy, rainy, windy days. The chance of catching a state record is always there. And, in some special locations, the chance at catching a world record bass is possible. So as anglers, it’s always interesting to see where the high bar has been set for fish catches like the biggest bass ever caught in the world.
While the world record smallmouth bass and world record spotted bass really don’t have any mystery around them. There is a bit of confusion it appears around the biggest largemouth bass ever caught. I viewed enough sites with completely inaccurate and flat out wrong information when searching for big bass myself, I decided to clear the confusion up because there is so much bad information on these sites claiming to have articles on the biggest bass ever caught.
Biggest Largemouth Bass Ever Caught
The confusion with the record largemouth bass comes because after so many years of there just being the one entry for George Perry’s 22-pound, 4-ounce largemouth bass caught out of Montgomery Lake in Georgia in 1932, another 22-pound, 4-ounce bass was caught out of Lake Biwa in Japan by angler Manabu Kurita in 2009.
Then to muddy the waters even further, there was a bass that weighed way more than both of those bass that was caught out of a small Lake Dixon in California in March of 2006 by trophy bass hunter Mac Weakley that weighed 25.1 pounds. However, because that bass was not hooked in the mouth while sight fishing, it was not allowed to be certified as the world record. That bass became famous as “Dotty” for the small dot the bass had on its belly that was like a birth mark that identified it had been caught a few times over the years by a few different anglers.
If you look at the record for largemouth bass on the International Game and Fish Association’s website IGFA.org, you will see both Kurita’s bass and Perry’s bass are listed as 22 pounds 4 ounces even though Kurita’s bass was slightly heavier at 10.12 kilograms while Perry’s was estimated to be 10.09 kilograms. But per IGFA certification rules, a fish must eclipse the previous record by 2 ounces for margin of error to be certified as overtaking the previous record. So these two are officially tied for the world record largemouth bass.
Perry’s Record Largemouth Bass Catch
Perry caught his giant largemouth bass while bass fishing on Lake Montgomery, an oxbow of the Ocmulgee River using a topwater Creek Chub Fintail Shiner (above). He later confessed that it was his only lure and his fishing buddy Jack Page would swap casts with the other paddled the boat because they also only had one rod between the two of them. It was during the Great Depression. So there wasn’t much to learn to know how to catch bass.
When the fish bit he had thought it hung him in a stump because it wouldn’t budge. Turns out it was just the biggest bass the two had ever heard of much less seen. All Perry could think was he had a huge hunk of meat to take home to the family. Mission accomplished.
They took the bass to the post office to have it weighed. Photos of the huge bass didn’t even come out until many years later. He was featured in a story in 1969 Sports Afield magazine where he added the legend to “The Catch” as it became known.
Kurita’s Record Largemouth Bass Catch
Kurita’s catch was quite different. Modern tackle and techniques were employed on a highly pressured fishery in a bass fishing capital across the globe in Japan from Perry’s record catch. Kurita was used to catching big bass on famed Lake Biwa. In fact a year prior to catch his record largemouth bass, he caught another largemouth weighing 18 pounds, 8 ounces on a Roman Made Mother swimbait on his trust Deps Sidewinder Flipping Edition rod with his Shimano Antares DC 7-LV reel. He uses some of the best bass fishing lures and best bass fishing rods to chase trophy bass in Japan.
His record bass actually fell for a live sunfish, rather than an artificial lure. What’s crazy was a month prior he was live bait fishing with this same rod and reel combo and while working on tackle, a bass snatched his live bait and drug his rod and reel out into the middle of the lake.
But a week later he’s fishing nearby and sees a big bass floating dead on the surface. He goes over to it and pulls the line in its mouth up and gets his rod and reel back. And then turned around and caught a world record bass on it.
Biggest Smallmouth Bass Ever
David Hayes holds the long standing record for smallmouth bass at 11 pounds, 15 ounces. Hayes caught this behemoth of a smallmouth bass out of Dale Hollow Lake that borders Kentucky and Tennessee in 1955. Hayes was out fishing with his family that summer and was trolling a Bomber Water Dog, similar to a Hellbender metal lipped deep diving crankbait.
When the fish struck it came up to the surface and jumped one time and then the rest of the fight was the big smallmouth making deep runs. He had to wake his wife and son to help them net the fish after a lengthy fight to tire the big bass down. When they netted it, he placed it in the cooler best it could fit and kept fishing.
He got low on gas and headed to the marina. When he got there he showed his fish to a deck hand and he rushed the fish inside and weighed it for Hayes and told him it weighed 11 pounds 15 ounces on their scales. Hayes thought he was joking. When he realized he wasn’t he raced to Cedar Hill Resort to have it weighed on their certified scales and they confirmed his 11-15 record.
Someone tried to claim years later that Hayes doctored the fish but a TWRA investigation put that rumor to bed quickly as sour grapes and the record has stood since 1955.
You can watch a video on an interview with Hayes on his catch here.
Biggest Spotted Bass Ever
We got a lot of first hand accounts of the record spot caught in 2017. There for a few years the spotted bass record was getting broke every year thanks to the explosion of trophy spotted bass in the mountain reservoirs in Northern California. But Nick Dulleck bested them all with his spot weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces.
Dulleck caught his bass dragging a Dirty Jigs football jig with a Yamamoto Twin Tail trailer in a deep cove on Bullards Bar. The fish bested the previous record by almost a pound.
You can read the full story of his catch in our story World Record Spotted Bass Caught.