Japanese angler Manabu Kurita catches world record large mouth bass
AP Photo/Takanari Shogawa

Heaviest Largemouth Bass Ever Landed, Captured on Video

Bass fishers: If you need a video to brighten your day, this one from 2009 is it.

There's big bass, and then there's BIG bass. The current world record largemouth bass was caught by Manabu Kurita in Lake Biwa, Japan, in 2009. This video shows the elation on the angler's face as he carries his massive catch up the boat dock and to a scale to get an official weight on this beast. There are smiles all around—and for good reason. That's a BIG bass.

Kurita's world-class bass weighed 22 pounds 5 ounces, one ounce larger than the previous world record largemouth bass, which held the title for nearly a century. (If you've ever held a five-pound bass, take a second to realize how huge 22 pounds is.) The previous record was caught by George Perry from Montgomery Lake in Georgia in 1932. The official books call these two catches a tie, however; to knock a title off the podium, the new catch must best the old one by a full 2 ounces. Kurita's bass was just 1 ounce heavier, so it's officially considered a tie.

The International Game Fish Association put Kurita through the wringer for his tie title, making him pass a polygraph test to prove he was telling the truth about all details of the record. The big bass was caught with a Deps Sidewinder HGC-77RX rod, a Shimano Antares DC7 LV reel, and using bluegill as bait.

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The title holder before Kurita went through a much different process. Before bringing his big catch home to feed his family, Perry stopped at the local post office to get an official weight, which was 22 pounds, 4 ounces. He then took the fish home and served up supper.

Later on, Perry heard about a fishing competition being held by Field & Stream magazine. He didn't have photographic proof of his catch, but he submitted his measurements and was declared the winner for his largemouth bass. Sometime after that, Field & Stream began certifying world records. Using his previously submitted measurements, Perry's bass was titled as the world-record largemouth.

At one point in the early 2000s, it looked as if Perry's record could be broken by a largemouth affectionately known as Dottie from California's Dixon Lake. Dottie was a recognizable fish due to unique black markings near her gills. Originally caught and released in 2003, Dottie weighed very close to 22 pounds at that time. Three years later, Dottie was caught again, and this time she weighed in at 25 pounds, 1 ounce, before she was again released. But, unfortunately, she had been foul-hooked—meaning caught on the side and not through the lip. Her weight put her in contention to beat the long-standing world record, but the manner in which she was caught disqualified her. And although Dottie was released, she'll never break the record, because her story came to an end when she was found floating in 2008.

These are by far the most popular game fish in America, and the next world-record largemouth bass could very well come from Florida, California, Texas, or another location where freshwater fishery management has led to big, big bass. But bass anglers looking to enter the record books can't exactly ignore Japan.

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