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March 21, 2006

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World Record Largemouth: Bass fishing's Holy Grail is found - but how it was caught is found lacking

P1_f_mar20_06_mweakley George Perry’s 22-pound, 4-ounce world-record bass has been freshwater fishing’s unbreakable record for no less than 74 years. Yesterday, Mac Weakley of Carlsbad, CA, blew it out of the water, landing a 25-pound, 1-ounce behemoth from southern California’s celebrated Dixon Lake. Weakley’s incredible catch should land him huge cash prizes, endorsements, and instant hero status—except for one sticking point, which the angler himself readily admits: “It's a great day, but it's a bad day,” Weakley told the San Diego Union Tribune. “It was a valiant effort. We've been trying and trying to catch this fish for years. It's the world-record bass. Unfortunately, it was foul-hooked.”

While working a white Rattlesnake jig over the giant bass’ spawning bed, Weakley unintentionally snagged the fish in the left side just under the dorsal fin. So, here’s the hang up: Under state regulations, which stipulate that a fish must take the bait in its mouth  voluntarily, Weakley’s catch is illegal. However, the International Game Fish Association rule states only that a catch may be disqualified if “intentionally” foul-hooked—and several witnesses have already verified that Weakley did not snag the monster on purpose. To complicate matters further, the bass was apparently not weighed on certified scales.

Whether or not the IGFA will make Weakley’s fish the new world-record bass is still up in air, and may be an uphill battle for the angler. One thing, however, is certain: Tiny 76-acre Dixon Lake is about to be mad-rushed by record-seeking anglers from every corner of the nation and globe: After landing the biggest largemouth ever caught, Weakley tossed it back, later saying “We figured that was the right thing to do.” 

Potential World Record Bass

Giant Bass Foul-Hooked

Lunker Weighed on Uncertified Scale

In Field & Stream's March 2004 issue, we predicted why Dixon Lake was poised to make history.

Read the full story here: The Best Little Bass Lake in America

Do you think a foul-hooked bass should count as a world record? Take our Poll at the bottom left of the homepage. click here


Clement Miner

I fish these lakes (Dixon/Wolford) on weekly bases. Although I don't personnel know these fishermen, there is a consensus by most local fisherman that these guys have unscrupulous tactics of catching these fish. My opinion of this catch is, that it was caught by those methods regardless of the rhetoric of those that said they witnessed the catch. The world record catch should be by conventional methods and not by high tech gadgetry.

Julian Fritz

These guys have all caught huge documented fish before. There is no way that they would catch a bass that eclipsed the world record by almost three pounds (ridiculous)and throw it back so fast. It is easy to weigh a fish on camera with a weighted belly. The only real way to prove the size of that fish is to measure it on camera... but what do you know... they didn't measure it either! These guys fish for the record almost for a living. If they caught a bass this big, it would not go back in the water uncertified, I don't care how they caught it. We're looking at another fish story guys. Don't believe it.

Bill Baab

In my opinion, as the expert on George Perry and his world record bass, the next world record fish must meet the following criteria:

Be caught cleanly on sport fishing tackle.
Be weighed on a U.S. Government-inspected certified scale with a minimum of two credible witnesses.
Be X-rayed to be sure there's no foreign material (remember Sandy DeFresco bass?)

This may mean killing the fish, but as you may recall, that's what happened to the Perry fish after it as weighed and measured as per Field & Stream Big Fish Contest instructions in 1932. It was then eaten by Perry and family members.

The new record fish probably would be mounted.

Thanks for allowing all of us to comment.

i think it is a fake

Corey Weaver

I think this fish is a fake and nothing more than a fake. If it is real then I think he perposally did it. I've caught an 8 pounder and there aint no way i would throw it away even if I foul-hooked it.

Corey Weaver

And another thing this guy is insane for releasing a 25 pounder.
Thanks for letting me comment on this.

You people are just jealous that you didnt cath the 25 pounder. He might not have either but you have to give him credit for until proven wrong like it or not.


Ill give him credit for catching a huge fish, record or no record no one here has caught one that big. But, No matter what the reason, why let it go?

Maybe your a true outdoorsman who beleives in catch and release like its a religion but, keeping this fish makes you a millionaire. Think about it, the many millionaire fisherman who would pay alot of money for the mount. Think of the research you might gain, think of all the possible advirtise ploys you could be part of.

Then again why would you tell anyone what lake you caught it on that you released it in. That tis if he let it go at all? Maybe its an economic ploy for the area he lives in to attract fisherman.in which case i should shut up.

Or maybe he is just a fisherman that caught the fish of our dreams
,and deserves all our respect.

scott miller

There's not a chance in the world that fish is real. Noboby in their right mind would release a 25 lb fish without getting it officially weighed in.

patricia matthew

yahoo. enough said. perid.com .ye haw . yea buddie. yes. yepie . good going.

matt w

What are u talking about Patricia Weaver?

Ne way do you guys read the comments of all the other people?you guys are pretty much saying what the guy before you said. Another thing, Why would you keep an eight pound bass?

I dont no about you guys but where im from Bass isnt #1 on the taste scale. Espeically in muddy lakes and ESPEICALLY the bigger fish Which taste worse and are usually let go for breeding.
And another thing, how did this fish get so big? Because 2 or 3 other people caught it as a 21 pound fish and, what do you know, let it go. Huh. How else do fish get to be records...


Screw the record. Keep it sell it to Bass Pro. They'll keep it a tank and rotate it to different store locations which will bring in crowds of customers. It'l will be worth more to a retailer not matter how it was cought.

Josh Rollins

Let me get this straight. Mac Weakley was in the right spot at the right time on the right lake with the right lure to entice a 25 lb fish, and everyone wants to disqualify him because the big bass lunged and missed the hook?

I think he did the correct and ethical thing by letting it go if he foul hooked it then it shouldnt count. Regsrdless of whether or not it was intentional. By letting it go he has a chance to catch it again ethically.

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