Here are our best guesses on where the next world record largemouth bass will be caught.
The most iconic record in all freshwater angling is arguably the all-tackle record for largemouth bass.
For 87 years now, George W. Perry's 22-pound, 4-ounce largemouth from Montgomery Lake in Georgia has stood as king of the mountain. And every year the legend of this big fish grows.
Every year bass anglers sit back and wonder. Will this finally be the year the long-standing record falls?
But if the record falls, where will the fish be caught? We have some ideas on that based on giant recent catches.
1. Dixon Lake, California
This location is probably the most obvious on the list because it has already produced a fish bigger than Perry's. Mac Weakley, along with friends Mike Winn and Jed Dickerson obsessively hunted for a huge bass named "Dottie" due to a black spot on her gill. The fish was caught two times before that and just missed the record both times.
Finally, in April of 2006 the trio caught up with Dottie again and successfully landed her. This 25-pound, 1-ounce largemouth bass would shatter Perry's record. There was just one problem. The fish was accidentally foul-hooked.
The anglers thought this detail would mean the record would not count. Later they found out the International Game Fish Association might have accepted the catch, but Weakley decided not to pursue it.
Dottie died a short time later and was found floating in the lake. Even though there's no chance of her breaking the record now, she spawned one final time before dying, which means her big fish genes are likely still in the lake. Because of that, it wouldn't surprise us at all if the new world record catch came from Dixon.
2. Lake Biwa, Japan
In 2009, Japanese angler Manubu Kurita shocked the bass fishing world with a 22-pound, 5-ounce largemouth caught on a live bluegill from this large lake. The news likely shocked the IGFA too. It took them six months to confirm the fish and then only after subjecting Kurita to a polygraph test.
Unfortunately, the fish couldn't top Perry's record because under IGFA regulations, a record must be two ounces heavier to be the new world record bass. As a result, the Kurita bass sits in a tie for first.
Missed record aside, the catch opened many angler's eyes to Japan as a big bass hotspot. The amazing thing is, largemouth bass aren't even native the country. In fact, they are considered an invasive species.
Kurita's bass had to be killed on the spot rather than returned to the lake to grow larger.
Still, where there is one mega-sized bass, there are likely others. It may just be a matter of time before Japan holds fishing's most coveted bass record.
3. Spring Lake, California
The amazing thing about this lake is the fact that it is home to not one, but TWO bass fishing record controversies.
The first, in 1997, was the infamous 24-pound bass angler Paul Duclos allegedly caught using a Castaic swimbait. Unfortunately, a certified scale wasn't available in time and that weight was obtained using an uncertified bathroom scale. The IGFA understandably couldn't recognize the fish.
But there was no question it was huge. The photo of the bass even graced the cover of Outdoor Life.
Then in 2003 another monster bass was caught. This time it was a woman named Leaha Trew who claimed to have caught a 22-pound, 8-ounce fish from the same lake. Unlike Duclos, she had a certified scale with her, but the IGFA became suspicious by the lack of witnesses and the photos of the fish.
While it was a huge bass, many doubted it was as large as she was claiming. IGFA later decided there wasn't enough evidence.
Both of those cases are unproven, but there is no doubt both fish were huge. Spring Lake is a big bass hotspot. Who knows? Maybe the third time will be the charm for this Sonoma County Lake.
4. Lake Fork, Texas
This famous lake is home to the Lone Star State's largemouth bass record, an 18.18-pounder caught there in 1992 by mistake by a crappie fisherman. While it is true that there hasn't been a fish anywhere near George Perry's record caught here, this lake is full of lunkers and the records prove it.
It isn't uncommon for anglers to boat several 14- to 16-pound fish in Lake Fork every spring. This is something helped even more by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's ShareLunker breeding program that looks to enhance Texas waterways even more with only the biggest bass in the state.
No other Texas lake comes close to Lake Fork's 74 ShareLunker fish. It may be any day now that someone pulls a true giant from its waters.
5. Lake Kissimmee, Florida
Everyone knows there are some true lunkers to be found in Florida. It isn't uncommon for "Florida strain" bass to be stocked in other parts of the country because of their growth potential. Officially, the Florida state record bass is 17.27 pounds. Unofficially, it's 19.23 and that fish may still be alive!
In 2015, Dave Ochs was practicing for a tournament on Lake Kissimmee when he hooked a bass bigger than anything he'd ever seen before. At 27 inches long and a 24-inch girth, the bass pegged an uncertified scale he had onboard at 19.23 pounds.
Ochs couldn't fit the fish in his live well, but he didn't want to kill it either. He settled for a photo and the story before letting the potential state record go.
Largemouths have a lifespan of around 16 years, so it isn't totally out of the question for this fish to still be alive and potentially be even bigger now. Could it be world record sized? Who knows? But we do know if we had to pick one lake in Florida where a new largemouth bass world record could come from, we'd pick Lake Kissimmee.
6. Lake Castaic, California
Perhaps no other lake gets more attention from world record bass seekers than this 11,000-acre southern California reservoir. And for good reason. This lake has produced FOUR largemouth bass over the 20-pound mark!
One big key to this lake's continued success is that it is often stocked with small rainbow trout, which the bass gorge themselves on. In March of 1991, Bob Crupi successfully landed a 22-pound, 1-ounce bass in Lake Castaic. That same month, Mike Aurjo landed a 21.12-pounder!
Both catches came just a little over a year after Crupi landed a massive 21-pounder. So, there is little question of what this lake can do.
Although the big catches seem to have slowed down there recently, we wouldn't be surprised at all if a new world record were landed here. In fact, it's quite amazing it hasn't happened already.