More Details on the Newly-Surfaced Photos of the World Record Largemouth Bass
| June 19, 2013
Bill Baab, author of "Remembering George W. Perry" and probably the leading living authority on the long-recognized world record largemouth bass caught in 1932 by George Perry, got a curious photo via email on the 81st anniversary of the catch June 2. It's purported to be a photo--formerly thought non-existent--of the world record catch, allegedly taken by Perry's fishing buddy, J.E. Page.

For those who don't know the story, here it is in a nutshell, taken from the historic marker posted near the small town of Lumber City, Georgia, close to where the fish was caught:

"Approximately two miles from this spot, on June 2, 1932, George W. Perry, a 19-year old farm boy, caught what was to become America's most famous fish. The twenty-two pound four ounce largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) exceeded the existing record by more than two pounds and has retained the world record for more than fifty years. Perry and his friend, J. E. Page, were fishing in Montgomery Lake, a slough off the Ocmulgee River, not for trophies but to bring food to the table during those days of the great depression. The fish was caught on a Creek Chub Perch Scale Wigglefish, Perry's only lure, and was 32 1/2 inches in length and 28 1/2 inches in girth. The weight and measurements were taken, recorded and notarized in Helena, Georgia and Perry's only reward was seventy-five dollars in merchandise as first prize in Field and Stream magazine's fishing contest. The long-standing record is one of the reasons that the largemouth bass was made Georgia's Official State Fish. Montgomery Lake is today part of the Department of Natural Resources' Horse Creek Wildlife Management Area."

Here's the text that came with the photo, forwarded to us by Baab, an old friend and long time outdoors editor of the Augusta Chronicle, from Jacob Page, who identifies himself as the son of J.E. Page.


"Most of (my) kin was from Lumber City. I always thought my daddy caught the record--never knew when to believe him. He died in the 1950's, we weren't close. A set of old pictures including this one and a couple more like it were recently found in an abandoned tobacco shed he had in northern FL.

After looking at a photo of Perry online, I thought it was him. Some folks said to send the pic to you. The date on it is interesting. I am an old man now and the boy in the picture is not my daddy so do what you'd like with it.

don't know who the kid in the photos is. Bass looks bigger than the record to me. Just thought you would like a copy.

--Jac"


Baab personally thinks the photo is of doubtful authenticity, and has been unable to contact Page for further information despite repeated emails. He has forwarded the photo to Photo-Shop experts to get an assessment. (My personal opinion--the letter sounds authentic, but the fish in the photo looks like it has been dead for some time or might even have been a skin mount--since they're still at the lake in this photo, why does the fish look as it does? It should look reasonably fresh. Also, the proportions seem odd compared to the man--but we'll see what the experts say. F.S.)

To get the whole story of George Perry's catch--now tied by a fish from Japan, by the way--Babb's book, "Remembering George W. Perry" can be ordered from The Whitefish Press, 4240 Minmor Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45217 (513) 746-0689. Cost is $19.95 plus shipping.

 

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