- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Is it possible that the largemouth bass world record has been broken?

A Massachusetts Web site, SouthCoastToday.com, ran a story a few days ago about a 22-pound, 5-ounce largemouth bass that was caught in Japan. If true and verified, it would beat George Perry’s world record. Perry hooked and landed a 22-pound, 4-ouncer in Montgomery Lake, Ga., 77 years ago.

A largemouth bass world record is the stuff high-dollar dreams are made of. An assortment of fishing tackle and boat manufacturers offer juicy cash awards to the person who breaks Perry’s record. In addition, the angler would need an agent to set a hefty price for all the public appearance deals that will be offered, not to mention having fiberglass copies made of the fish and selling them. Imagine also what it would be worth to a company if it could run advertisements that say, “He caught the world record using our reel.” Or rod, boat, lure, line and hook while wearing this and that brand of jeans, shirt and hat. The fisherman easily could earn $1 million or more.

Now there’s the 22-pound, 5-ounce largemouth bass by Manabu Kurita, but it has not yet been documented by the International Game Fish Association, which is the official keeper of world sport-fishing records. The IGFA says it hasn’t heard from Kurita. According to the rules, he has until early October to get in touch. If a record is caught outside the United States, the angler has 90 days to file an application but only 60 if it is hooked in the United States.

However, the IGFA also says that any fish that would establish a world record but weighs under 25 pounds must exceed the old mark by at least 2 ounces. Kurita’s bass exceeded Perry’s mark by only 1.

Additionally, rumors are flying about entrepreneurs in Japan, the United States and Mexico who try to raise Florida-strain largemouth bass (they grow bigger than northern largemouths) and catching them in controlled waters that are used expressly for the raising, even feeding, of potential world records.

As it stands now, if all the IGFA rules are strictly adhered to, the bass Kurita caught in Japan at best will be considered a tie of Perry’s world record.

Public yellow perch meeting - A public meeting to discuss Maryland’s recreational yellow perch fishery will be held Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. at the C-1 conference room in the Tawes Building in Annapolis. The Department of Natural Resources will present a summary of the 2009 recreational yellow perch fishery. In addition, anglers will have the opportunity to discuss other issues regarding the management of this fishery with the DNR. As it stands now, yellow perch that are caught by recreational anglers must measure at least 9 inches, and the creel limit has been doubled from five to 10.

Yellow perch anglers who visit the previously closed Magothy and Severn rivers should know that they are now open but there are still closed sections within each watershed. In the Magothy, it’s from the base of Lake Waterford downstream for 3,300 feet. In that section you cannot go after any fish species in February, March and April. During those same months, a person can’t fish in the Severn or Severn Run from the Route 3 bridge downstream for 2,400 feet.

Don’t feed the deer - Starting Sept. 1, it will be illegal to feed deer anywhere in Virginia. The prohibition runs through Jan. 2, 2010, which begs the question: Why would anybody ever feed deer? They are very capable of taking care of themselves. Deer do not need anyone’s help.

The Virginia regulation does not restrict the planting of crops like corn and soybeans, wildlife food plots and backyard or schoolyard habitats. It is simply intended to curb the artificial feeding of deer, which can lead to unnaturally increasing the population, harming natural habitat, transmitting disease and, of course, increasing human-deer conflicts, such as auto accidents.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com. Mueller’s Inside Outside blog can be found at www.washingtontimes.com/sports.

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