George Kramer's Blog

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010
It’s cold out there
Monday, January 18, 2010
Assessing the weather

‘New’ record not the same

It’s pretty hard to get around them. Historical moments such as the acceptance of the Japanese all-tackle record for largemouth bass by the International Game Fish Association deserve some kind of comment.

There’s has already been plenty to say regarding the bits of information that have surfaced accurately or inaccurately over the last six months. Some of that could be blamed on translation, given angler Manabu Kurita is a Japanese citizen.

Of course, there were others looking for some kind of product tie-in, to bolster some marketing boost for whatever import they were hoping to push. Beyond that, there have been issues over the account over the “bridge” on Lake Biwa, a potential off-limits in the region, the fact Kurita fished, (trolled but not cast) the area with a live bluegill.

But in the end, the delay (it took six months in an era of electronic communication) for the IGFA to get its story composed and confirm the catch. But it was confirmed.

Now, with the exception of the pile-on by Bassmaster magazine trying to regain its status as relevant, the responses have included a few jingoistic calls to beat the record here on American soil along with a few half-hearted congratulatory messages.

But my feelings are a little different — and have been for some time.

The world record catch by George Perry, taken in June of 1932 on the Georgia/Florida border, was recorded almost 40 years before I became immersed in bass fishing. It was historic, distant and conventional. It came in an era when the equipment available created a situation where between two angling partners, one would row while the other cast.

The wooden lure used then, however, did not seem nearly so primitive in 1970, than it does in 2010. Yet in what I expect was a lightly pressured body of water, a rare fish (likely sporting Florida strain genetics) struck and after being weighed on a postal scale, became talking point around town, food for a family struggling during the Great Depression, and finally in time, a record catch that would stand alone for 75 years or so.

I’m not saying that story is better than the Kurita tale, but you have to admit, it has charm. I also find it interesting that both “record fish” were summer catches, when we usually consider big bass/big baits (and those hopeful big swimbaits manufacturers are hoping that will be used) a winter/early spring phenomena.

But once the small, trout-planted lakes became a target for record sized bass, not only would there ever be a romantic, “just went fishing,” repeat catch of Perry-like dimensions. In fact, through the last two or three decades, it became evident that there would also be no embroidered shirt/tie-dyed jersey guy catching it either.

True, there were some years there in the late 1980s and early 1990s that the record seemed destined to fall to a live crawfish, but it didn’t happen. They were followed by a parade of inexplicable, unverified, unreliable catches up to the present, and have all been discounted.

So we’re left with a not-quite-satisfying catch taken in Japan narrated with secondhand information disseminated by people who all want to claim a bit of the spotlight.

And you wonder why I’m just happy to get a few bites every day?

Bass columnist George Kramer, who would like a buffet served after his funeral, can be reached by email at

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