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John Merwin lives in Vermont, where, when he's not tying flies, building lures, or digging up worms with his backhoe, he writes the monthly Fishing Column for Field & Stream magazine.

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November 14, 2008

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Merwin: Record Largemouth Mystery

In our current (December/January) print edition, I describe the stories behind some world-record catches, noting how puzzling it was that for years there seemed to be no photos of George Perry's 1932 world-record largemouth.

Fsperryphoto_4 As it turns out, the lack of a photo was just because nobody bothered to look at the pertinent back issues of Field & Stream, which certified Perry's record in the first place as part of our then-annual fishing contest. We published a photo of Perry's bass in 1934, and the magazine page is reproduced here (click image to enlarge).

Unfortunately, the magazine staff at the time cut the bass out of whatever background might have been in the picture. Even well before desktop computers and Adobe PhotoShop, there were plenty of ways to doctor a photograph for reproduction.

Perrybassphoto2_3In 2006, a photo of a man (not Perry) holding Perry's bass surfaced among some Perry family effects. So compare the two. Are they the same fish? And was the photo we published in 1934 possibly cut from an old print of the newly found image?

Looks that way to me, but the images are old and fuzzy, which makes it hard to tell.

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Blue Ox

Belive nothing you hear and only half of what you see.

Tyler (NC)

Look at the gills, two diffrent pictures

Yeah, I agree with Tyler, different gills and the belly region is different as well.

Dr. Ralph

Holy crap Merwin, you've found the missing link... It's the same bass but not from the same picture is my opinion. I wish I could read the article better. Why hasn't anyone come up with this before??? How about another post with the magazine article full size and readily accessible. YOU THE MAN!!!

John Merwin

Thanks, Ralph, but I can't claim much credit. One of the editors in our New York office got curious and found the article while rummaging through the old bound volumes. Click on the image of the article above. It should then enlarge on your screen so you can read it.

Greyghost

Guys

That most assuredly is not Mr. Perry's bass! I know because I am the small boy in the picture. I caught that bass in Cane Creek in Edwardsville, AL on a Jitter Bug and it weighed 19 lbs. 6 oz. I had thrown my cigarette away seconds before the picture was take so other young kids would not try to emulate me. The shorts I am wearing are an early prototype of Tarpon Wear,

Greyghost

Dr. Ralph

You're full of it Greyghost... I caught that damn fish and I'm the little kid in my underwear and neckerchief. Caught it on a Johnson Century with a Lazy Ike.

Greyghost

Well Dr. Ralph, if that's even your real name, I figured that folks would be coming out of the woodwork claming to be the young boy who caught the big bass but I am indeed the young chap standing with my uncle Jubilation T. Cornpone having our picture taken. The hell of it is, that's not even the biggest bass I caught that day. I caught two others, both on a purple worm with white spots and a propeller in front that you used to be able to buy stapeled to a card at the 5 and 10 cent store. The other two weighed 28 lbs. even and 32 lbs. 3 ozs. but we did not get pictures of them because we ran out of film after taking the picture of the smaller bass first.

Greyghost

Lloyd Johnson III

George L Perry aka Dazy,son of George W Perry is a client of mine and was given the picture of the bass with the man holding it with the kid.Dazy told me the trees in the picture are still there by the post office where the fish was weighed .





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