In recreational angling, the largemouth bass is king. No other species has an international following as massive and as dedicated as that of the largemouth bass.
Their global distribution, accessibility to anglers of all socio-economic levels, and renowned game fish characteristics have morphed the largemouth bass from simply a fish to a globally recognized icon of recreational angling.
Due to the historic and widespread popularity of the species, it should come as no surprise that obtaining a world record largemouth bass is nearly impossible. Nearly.
The following catches represent the biggest, most impressive and envied world records ever granted for largemouth bass.
Montgomery Lake, GA
The All-Tackle record for largemouth bass is the most sought after game fish record in the world. It is the “holy grail” of fishing records. George Perry has held this prestigious title for nearly 83 years, since he pulled his massive 22-pound, 4-ounce fish from Montgomery Lake, Georgia on June 2, 1932.
Perry, a 20-year-old farmer at the time, decided to go fishing with longtime friend Jack Page. The two were taking turns with a single rod and reel, casting a Creek Chub Fintail Shiner from the wooden Jon boat Perry had built.
An interview from 1973 recorded Perry saying, “I thought I had hooked a log, but then the log started moving.”
After skillfully playing the fish out of a half-submerged treetop, Perry finally boated the fish which was bigger than anything he or Page had ever seen.
The two immediately beached the boat and headed for town. Later that day, the fish officially weighed in at 22 pounds, 4 ounces and soon after became the new benchmark for record chasing anglers around the world.
Seventy-seven years would pass before a fish comparable to Perry’s monster would be caught, but it has still yet to be surpassed.
Lake Biwa, Japan
However, Perry’s sole ownership of this most prestigious record came to an end on July 2, 2009 when Japanese angler Manabu Kurita pulled his own 22-pound, 4-ounce largemouth from Lake Biwa in central Japan, after it ate a live bluegill that he had on for bait.
Although it occurred halfway around the world from where Perry’s fish was landed, news of the historic catch spread like wildfire through the angling world. And as word spread, so did the doubts.
After all, landing a fish that millions of anglers had pursued for nearly a century is not something to be taken lightly. As such, every detail of the catch and its submission was done under a microscope.
The IGFA and Japanese Game Fishing Association (JGFA) even went as far as to administer a polygraph test on Kurita to ensure the catch and submission was done by IGFA rules.
After months of rigorously reviewing the application, the IGFA granted Manabu Kurita his share of the “holy grail” – a tie for the coveted All-Tackle largemouth bass world record with George Perry.
Lake Casitas, CA
When Raymond Easley caught his historic 21-pound, 3-ounce largemouth on March 4 1980, it was the largest bass anyone had recorded since George Perry’s All-Tackle monster in 1932.
On that morning, Easley was fishing Lake Casitas, California with a few buddies who were inexperienced anglers. While demonstrating how to properly fish a live crawfish in the relatively deep water, Easley’s bait got crushed and he came tight on the fish of a lifetime.
After a quick fight, Easley had the fish weighed in on a certified scale not far from the lake. Shortly after, the catch became the men’s 8-pound line class world record — a record that still stands today.
At the time of the catch, Easley’s fish was the second heaviest largemouth ever recorded, trailing only Perry’s All-Tackle record.
The catch sent shockwaves through the angling community and renewed the hopes of anglers everywhere about having a chance at catching the next world record largemouth, especially anglers in southern California.
Castaic Lake, CA
While George Perry’s name is revered and envied among bass anglers, and rightfully so, there is one angler whose name deserves equal respect and recognition — Robert Crupi.
Most bass anglers dream of a chance at catching just one world record in their lifetime, Crupi has four to his name. Not to mention that three of those records were caught in just a year’s time! Not a bad year at all.
Crupi’s first world record largemouth would be the fish of a lifetime for any other angler — a 21-pound lunker that he pulled from the renowned Castaic Lake in Southern California on March 9, 1990.
Crupi, now a retired LA policeman, has been a regular on Lake Castaic since 1977.
In fact, Crupi fished the same spot in the lake for five days prior to landing this fish, which he coerced with a live crawdad he was fishing in 36- to 40-feet of water.
Although he had caught several large fish in his life, Crupi had never seen one this big. The fish was successfully landed, weighed-in, and shortly after became the men’s 12-pound line class record.
At the time, this was the third heaviest largemouth ever recorded by the IGFA. And Crupi was just getting started.
Christmas came three days late for Robert Crupi in 1990. On the morning of December 28, 1990, Crupi was fishing his usual spots on Castaic Lake, working a crippled herring jig in about 40 feet of water after marking some fish on his electric paper graph (an old school sounder).
After catching several crappie and smallmouth bass, Crupi dropped the jig down again, but this time he hooked something big. The fish effortlessly stripped the 4-pound monofilament off his reel, and stayed deep for approximately 15 minutes.
Finally, the fish surfaced about 50 yards from the boat and Crupi realized what he had been fighting. Fishing alone, Crupi managed to net and land the fish by himself, which became his second world record, this time in the men’s 4-pound line class category.
A couple months later — and almost exactly a year after landing his first world record largemouth — Crupi was back on Castaic Lake the morning of March 12, 1991.
This time he pulled an incredible 22-pound lunker from the lake using a live crawdad and utilizing the same technique he had employed for the record fish he caught the year before.
Crupi only needed three minutes to land the fish, which he netted himself as he was again fishing alone. Immediately knowing he had something special, Crupi put the fish in his livewell and raced back to the docks, later to be weighed in at a nearby deli & liquor store on a certified scale.
Noticing that the fish was a spawning female and full of eggs, Crupi returned the fish to the livewell after it was officially weighed in, and eventually released the fish at the same spot he pulled it from the water earlier that morning.
This catch earned Crupi the men’s 16-pound line class record, and once again, the third heaviest bass ever recorded by the IGFA to this day.
Castaic Lake, CA
Robert Crupi isn’t the only angler that has capitalized on the incredible largemouth fishery of California’s famed Castaic Lake.
In fact, Dan Kadota pulled his 19-pound monster from Castaic a year before Crupi began his stretch of incredible record catches. On the chilly morning of January 8, 1989, Kadota struck out early with hopes of catching big largemouth. And he was not disappointed.
While fishing a live crawfish along the bottom, Kadota hooked into his record catch, which he netted and boated approximately five minutes later.
The fish eventually became the men’s 20-pound line class record, where it still remains today.
Castaic Lagoon, CA
Angler Larry Kurosaki caught a 16-pound, 12-ounce lunker while fishing Castaic Lagoon on the morning of February 26, 2009.
While a largemouth of this size is certainly noteworthy, the impressive fact about Kurosaki’s record is that it was caught on fly tackle.
In fact, Kurosaki’s 16-pound, 12-ounce fish is the largest fly caught largemouth ever recorded by the IGFA. Kurosaki coerced the fish to bite a custom tied minnow fly, and skillfully played the fish for five minutes before he landed what would become the men’s 8-pound tippet class record.
Kurosaki was prepared with a portable certified scale, and quickly weighed and documented the fish on shore, before he released it alive.
Daytona Beach, FL
Although the majority of the current world record largemouth bass have come from southern California, Florida is still one of the best places in the US to target trophy largemouth bass.
Places like Lake Okeechobee and Lake Toho are known by bass anglers everywhere, but the largemouth potential in Florida is not limited to these famous haunts.
Any freshwater body of water in Florida has the potential of producing quality bass, due to the climate and the strain of largemouth found in the state.
In fact, Mackenzie Hickox caught her 15-pound, 12-ounce female Junior angler record from the shoreline of a man-made pond, not far from her house in Daytona Beach. Hickox, just 11-years-old at the time, was fishing a Strobe Spinner on May 8, 2006 with her parents, sister and a friend when she hooked into the massive bass.
Once landed, the fish was measured and weighed on a portable scale, which read an incredible 16 pounds. The fish was then released alive to grow even bigger.
Lake Murray, CA
Fourteen-year-old Cody Pierce’s Junior Angler world record largemouth, a 17-pound trophy, is a perfect example of the importance of the “last cast”.
On the morning of March 22, 2000, Cody skate-boarded down to the nearby Murray Reservoir outside of San Diego, to sneak in some fishing before heading off to school.
After catching several smaller bass and about to call it a day, Cody made his “last cast” from the shore line and immediately got a bite, but couldn’t stay connected. Realizing that his rubber worm had been cut in half, he quickly put a fresh lure on and re-cast to the same location.
This time, Cody hooked up and stayed connected to his 17-pound fish which he weighed in at the nearby ranger station, with the help of some older anglers fishing nearby.
Even more impressive is that Cody made the decision to release the fish alive so it could make even more bass for people to catch in the future.
Never give up!
All of these catches, but especially the last two, are exactly why bass fishing is so popular. These young anglers were fishing from shore, close to their homes, with tackle that probably cost no more than $20. The largemouth bass is the “people’s” fish. Sure there are those anglers that spend way too much money on boats that go way too fast, and gear that is way too expensive. But that is not required.
You don’t need big boats to travel hundreds of miles. You don’t need expensive tackle and elaborate rigs.
All you need is a rod and reel, and you too could find your name listed alongside Perry, Crupi, Kurita, and the other anglers lucky enough to catch a world record largemouth bass.
Looking for more big fish? Check out these big muskies! Click on the gallery at the end of the file for different versions of these photos.
Dr. Mark E. Carlson
One of the best places in the world to target trophy muskies is Canada’s famed St. Lawrence River system, where the fish seem to consistently grow to enormous sizes. Dr. Mark E. Carlson experienced this first hand on December 4, 2013, when he became connected to an exceptionally large specimen while trolling a Legend Perch plug. Even with the heavy tackle he was using, Carlson needed nearly 20 minutes to boat the impressive animal, which measured out to 132 centimeters before being released alive—easily earning him the new All-Tackle Length record. Before being released back into the chilly St. Lawrence, Carlson’s fish was tagged for a study being conducted by the Canadian government to learn more about these important predators.
Canadian angler Lalie Tronel-Peyroz was trolling a Depth Raider in the St. Lawrence River, Canada, on November 21, 2011, when she hooked into something big.After a grueling 15-minute battle, the young angler boated this 18.63-kilograms (41 pound, 1 ounce) muskellunge. After snapping a few shots with her new Female Junior record musky, the toothy fish was released alive back into the chilly St. Lawrence River. Lalie’s impressive musky shattered the previous record which stood at 12.92 kilograms (28 pounds, 8 ounces).
Joe Seeberger needed nearly two hours to land a 26.31-kilogram (58 pound, 0 ounces) musky—only 9 pounds off the All-Tackle record—that earned him the 4-kilogram (8 pound) line class record. Seeberger was slow trolling a live sucker minnow in Lake Bellaire, Michigan on October 13, 2012, when the muskie hit. In its history, the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) has only received three muskies heavier than Seeberger’s catch, which replaced the previous record that stood for 15 years. Aside from being the fourth heaviest musky on file at the IGFA, Seeberger also holds the record for the longest fight time of any muskie ever submitted to the IGFA.
The third heaviest muskie ever recorded by the IGFA is Kenneth O’Brien’s 29.48- kilogram (65-pound) beast that he caught on October 16, 1988, while fishing Blackstone Harbor, near his home town in Ontario, Canada. Contrary to the popular belief that big muskies are caught on big baits, O’Brien’s fish ate a tiny 4-inch Rapala lure! Once hooked up, O’Brien fought the fish for 15 minutes from the 14-foot aluminum boat he and his two friends had rented for the day. Although he was using Berkley Trilene rated at 4 kilograms (8 pounds), O’Brien’s record was placed in the 6-kilogram (12-pound) class due to the line testing high. Regardless, of the tackle used, this is an extremely impressive catch that is likely to stand for years to come.
Six minutes. That’s all the time it took for angler Gene Borucki to land his world muskie that went on to earn him the men’s 15-kilogram (30-pound) line class world record—a record that has stood for 30 years. Borucki, who was visiting Canada from his home in Illinois, hooked the record muskie while trolling a Rapala in Ontario’s Manitou Lake on August 30, 1984. The biggest problem Borucki encountered with this fish was finding a scale big enough to weigh it! In fact, the “Monster of the Manitou” (as the fish has been subsequently named) wasn’t officially weighed until two days later, when it tipped the scales at a whopping 25.6 kilograms (56 pounds, 7 ounces).
On the morning of July 24, 1949, more than 65 years ago, Cal Johnson and his son launched their boat in Lake Court Oreilles, located in their hometown of Hayward, Wisconsin. Not long after he started trolling a wooden Pike Oereno lure, as he had done for years, Johnson hooked-up to what he immediately knew was a huge muskie. Johnson, an experienced angler and outdoor writer, skillfully and carefully played his fish for an hour before the fish could be subdued. With the muskie measuring more than five feet in length, Johnson knew he had something special. The muskie was then taken to the nearby Moccasin Lodge, where it was officially weighed-in at an enormous 30.62 kilograms (67 pounds, 8 ounces). As is the case with most highly coveted awards, the All-Tackle record for muskie has seen its share of controversy. Over the years, larger muskie catches have been reported, such as Louie Spray’s 69-pound, 11-ounce fish and Robert Malo’s 70 pounder. However, Johnson’s muskie has retained the prestigious title as it was caught and documented in accordance with the IGFA’s International Angling Rules, the internationally accepted rules of sport fishing.
For 38 years, Canadian angler George McQuillen had fished the infamous St. Lawrence River in search of trophy muskie. On November 12, 1994, McQuillen hit the water early to take advantage of the rare good weather for that late in the season. That afternoon, after already releasing one nice fish, McQuillen thought his 9-inch, jointed Kwik-Fish lure had snagged bottom when his rod doubled over and line peeled from his reel. However, as his boat came to a stop, and line was still disappearing from his reel, McQuillen knew he had a fish, and a good one at that. Twenty minutes later, McQuillen had the 23.7-kilogram (52-pound, 4-ounce) muskie netted, and a new Men’s 10-kilogram (20-pound) line class world record.
Dr. William Pivar
For nearly 35 years, Dr. William Pivar has held the Men’s 8-kilogram (16-pound) line class record for muskie with the 20.41-kilogram (45-pound, 0-ounce) fish he pulled from 1,000 Island Lake in Upper Michigan on July 26, 1980. Pivar and local guide Dick Rose hadn’t caught a thing all afternoon and with it getting late, Pivar made the decision to switch to a lighter outfit without a leader. Two minutes after deploying a Believer lure on the lighter outfit, Pivar hooked up. Despite the light tackle and the lack of a leader, Pivar needed only 5 short minutes to land his world record muskie.
There is a popular saying that goes: “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.” That certainly applies to Gary Ishii, who became the envy of diehard muskie anglers everywhere on just his third fishing trip ever.On October 11, 1984, while fishing Ontario’s Moon River with his brother-in-law, Ishii caught a 24.94-kilogram (55-pound) muskie that has held the Men’s 24-kilogram (50-pound) line class record ever since.After hooking the fish on a large, jointed Swim Wizz lure, Ishii fought the fish to the boat in 30 minutes, and then everything went wrong. Ishii’s rod broke at the handle, and when he tried to net the fish, that too snapped at the handle due to the size of the musky. Grabbing the rim of the net, Ishii slung the fish in the boat—still not aware of what he had just caught.After documenting his record catch, Ishii donated the cleithrum bone to science, which determined that his musky was approximately 20 years old.
Dr. John R. Jezioro
For two straight days, Dr. John R. Jezioro unsuccessfully stalked his world record muskie. He knew where the fish was holding, but he simply could not get it to take his fly. On the third day, the night of August 26, 2005, Jezioro’s patience finally paid off—the culmination of his four-year quest to catch a world record muskie on a fly. Jezioro was casting a custom fly along the banks of West Virginia’s Tygart River when the fish, as he describes, “exploded like a missile” on his fly. However, after only a quick three minute fight, Jezioro had the fish landed.After quickly documenting his catch, Jezioro revived and released his world record musky back into the Tygart. This impressive 29-pound catch (and release) earned Jezioro the Men’s 6-kilogram (12-pound) tippet class record, and the bragging rights of having caught the heaviest musky on a fly ever recorded by the IGFA.
<h2>Dr. Mark E. Carlson</h2>One of the best places in the world to target trophy muskies is Canada’s famed St. Lawrence River system, where the fish seem to consistently grow to enormous sizes. <p></p> Dr. Mark E. Carlson experienced this first hand on December 4, 2013, when he became connected to an exceptionally large specimen while trolling a Legend Perch plug. Even with the heavy tackle he was using, Carlson needed nearly 20 minutes to boat the impressive animal, which measured out to 132 centimeters before being released alive—easily earning him the new All-Tackle Length record. <p></p> Before being released back into the chilly St. Lawrence, Carlson’s fish was tagged for a study being conducted by the Canadian government to learn more about these important predators.