In my 50 years of black bass fishing–literally all over this hemisphere–I figured one day I would at least hook a bass that would challenge George Perry’s 22lb 4ounce world record. My travels have taken me to all lakes in Mexico, Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, Lake Yojoa in Honduras, One lake in Costa Rica, plus Treasure Lake in Cuba, along with Lake Hanabanilla in Cuba, Lake Minerva in Cuba, Lake ZaZa in Cuba. I ran groups to Lake Cuyaguateje in Pinar Del Rio Province. I went on a 15-day checkout trip to Cuba looking for a lake that might produce a world record bass.
While I was visiting Lake Cuyaguateje I found out that the man in charge of the lake had caught a huge bass a couple years before my visit. I had my tour guide take me to meet this man. I was taken to his office at the lake and I asked him a zillion questions. He had caught this bass on a hand line standing on the bank. He said he was using a live water lizard that lived in the reeds along the bank.
He asked me if I wanted to see a picture of the fish, which really surprised me. I of course said “Yes!” and he opened his desk drawer and pulled out an old Polaroid picture. This man was about 5 feet 7 inches tall and he was holding this huge bass with his hand in his mouth at waist level and the tail was touching the ground. The mouth appeared to be as big as a trash basket.
I asked the man if he weighed the fish and he said he didn’t have any scales to weigh the fish. I asked him what he did with the fish. I got the famous George Perry answer that “his family had eaten it for supper.” Donnie Locke (from Malakoff) and I guessed from the picture that the bass was about 25 lbs or larger.
Naturally, I selected this lake as the one where my clients would try to break the world record. When I returned to the USA, I selected a film crew plus all the important outdoor writers in the USA to go back with me to try and break the world record and capture it on film. This was in 1978. Needless to say we didn’t catch the world record bass, but it was a very exciting trip with every cast a possible world record.
This past week brought back all those old memories of a possible world record black bass. Dr. Roger Sessions from Henderson, Texas was fishing Lake El Salto in Mexico when he caught what might have been a world Record Black Bass before the spawn. The huge bass measured 36 inches long by 21 1/8 inches in the girth. Unfortunately, the monster female had spawned out. Dr. Sessions–being more of a hunter than fisherman–did not have any scales. They measured her and released her back to the lake. We would apply our standard formula (which is used by many Pro guides and taxidermist all over the country): length x length x girth divided by 1150. By that formula, she should have weighed 23.67 pounds, which of course would have been a new world record.
What a shame that Rodger didn’t catch her 10 days earlier, before she spawned. What a shame I didn’t catch her years ago, as I know I have fished several lakes that had that size fish. I must admit that I have never had a world record on my line in 50 years of bass fishing.
However, I am still just 71 years old and hopefully have enough time to catch that world record! The odds definitely are not on my side, but just remember that it only takes one cast. KEEP CHUNKING!!!
REMEMBER TO PUT THAT LIFEJACKET ON WHEN TRAVELING IN A BOAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!