22.3 lb. Largemouth Bass caught by Manabu Kurita fishing on 07/02/09
Posted by Joe Pych over 5 years ago
Thought you guys would like to see this story
Angler may have landed record
If catch is verified, big bass in Japan would tie '32 mark
By Ed Zieralski
Union-Tribune Staff Writer
2:00 a.m. July 3, 2009
Since the early 1980s, Southern California's fishermen have been going hard after the biggest prize in freshwater fishing: a world-record largemouth bass.
Now it appears that coveted catch has surfaced on the other side of the world from the San Diego lakes that seemed so ripe to produce it.
A Japanese angler, fishing at Lake Biwa in the Shiga Prefecture of Japan — one of the world's most ancient lakes — may have tied freshwater fishing's oldest and most cherished record.
Reports indicate that a 22-pound, 5-ounce bass was caught yesterday by Manabu Kurita, a pro staffer representing Deps Tackle Co. in Japan. The bass measured 29.4 inches long, but girth measurements were not given. It reportedly was weighed on a certified scale, but no other details were given, such as what he used to catch it, and photos posted on the Internet were sketchy.
The record catch has stood for 77 years, since George Perry caught a 22-pound, 4-ounce bass out of Montgomery Lake in Georgia on June 2, 1932. That has been the International Game Fish Association all-tackle world record.
Association regulations state that a bass must weigh 2 ounces more than Perry's to break the record. So Kurita's catch would tie it.
“It looks like the real deal,” said San Diego County bass angler Mike Long, recognized as one of the top big-bass anglers in the world and who has been chasing the world record for nearly 16 years.
Long is one of three county anglers to have a bass among the top 10 heaviest. That doesn't count the 25-pound, 1-ounce bass caught at Escondido's Lake Dixon in 2006 by Mac Weakley that set off a major bass buzz. It wasn't submitted as a record because it was foul-hooked, meaning it wasn't hooked in the mouth.
Jason Schratwieser, the game fish association's fishing records and conservation director, said he hadn't received details about the catch.
“It will tie (Perry's record) if that's the weight (22-5),” Schratwieser said, adding that association rules stipulate that, for record fish weighing less than 25 pounds, the replacement record must weigh at least 2 ounces more than the existing record.
News spread quickly yesterday in the bass-fishing community. It always does when a possible world record bass is caught. Ken Duke of BASS publications uncovered the angler's name. Locally, the buzz hit every local tackle shop shortly after noon.
“I'm not at all disappointed that it was caught in Japan,” said John Cassidy, owner of Angler's Arsenal in La Mesa. Cassidy's shop sold the Bob Sangster Rattlesnake jig that Weakley used to catch his 25-pound, 1-ounce bass in 2006. That catch should have shattered Perry's all-tackle world record, but Weakley unintentionally foul-hooked it with Sangster's custom jig, released it alive and never pursued the record. The bass was found floating in Dixon in spring 2008.
That same bass, famously identified by a black dot on its right gill plate, had been caught by Jed Dickerson in 2004. Its weight bounced between 22 pounds, 7 ounces and 22 pounds, 9 ounces when first weighed and would have broken Perry's mark. But by the time Dickerson weighed it in front of more witnesses, it was 21 pounds, 11.2 ounces.
Lake Biwa is Japan's largest lake and covers more than 259 square miles. It also is 4 million to 5 million years old, one of the 20 oldest lakes in the world. Its crystal-clear water is more than 300 feet deep and is home to Biwako giant catfish, ayu, Biwa trout (salmon) and more than 50 species unique to the fishery.
In recent years, Japanese officials have reacted to concerns by commercial fishermen there and have attempted to eliminate invasive species from Biwa. Black bass, or largemouth bass, along with bluegill, are at the top of the invasives list. The Lake Biwa Museum Restaurant features largemouth bass on its menu.
There was an unconfirmed report of a 25-pound largemouth bass netted by a commercial fisherman at Biwa this year. The previous Japanese bass record weighed 19.15 pounds and was caught by Kazuya Shimada from Lake Ikehara on April 22, 2003.
Many thought the next world record bass would come from a California reservoir that gets stocked with trout. But it turns out it's the product of an ancient Japanese lake.
In this photo taken and distributed by Takanari Shogawa of Japanese fishing tackle maker deps Co., Japanese angler Manabu Kurita raises a black bass after he caught it in Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan, Thursday, July 2, 2009. - AP Photo/Takanari Shogawa, deps Co.
THE BIGGEST BASS
If the weight of yesterday's catch in Japan is verified, these are the heaviest largemouth bass ever caught. Of the top 10, three were taken in San Diego County:
1. 22 pounds, 5 ounces, by Manabu Kurita; July 2, 2009, at Lake Biwa, Japan
2. 22 pounds, 4 ounces, by George W. Perry; June 2, 1932, at Montgomery Lake, Ga.
3. 22 pounds, ½ ounce, by Bob Crupi; March 12, 1991, at Castaic Lake
4. 21 pounds, 12 ounces, by Mike Arujo; March 5, 1991, at Castaic Lake
5. 21 pounds, 11.2 ounces, by Jed Dickerson; May 31, 2003, at Dixon Lake
6. 21 pounds, 3½ ounces, by Raymond Easley; March 4, 1980, at Lake Casitas
7. 21 pounds, ½ ounce, by Bob Crupi; March 9, 1990, at Castaic Lake
8. 20 pounds, 15 ounces, by David Zimmerlee; June 23, 1973, at Lake Miramar
9. 20 pounds, 14 ounces, by Leo Torres; Feb. 4, 1990, at Castaic Lake
10. 20 pounds, 12 ounces, by Mike Long; April 27, 2001, at Dixon Lake
Also: A 25-pound, 1-ounce bass was caught by Mac Weakley on March 20, 2006, at Dixon Lake, but Weakley decided not to pursue world-record consideration because the fish was foul-hooked.
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