On June 2, 1932 George W. Perry would catch the fish that would make him a legend, as well as a world record holder for 81 years and counting. On that day, while fishing the waters of Lake Montgomery in southern Georgia, Perry landed a behemoth largemouth bass that weighed 22 pounds, 4 ounces. In an interview with Sports Afield years later, Perry said that his initial fear after hooking the fish was losing his only lure of the day, a Creek Chub Fintail Shiner.
“I don’t remember many of the details but all at once the water splashed everywhere,” Perry said in 1969. “I do remember striking, then raring back and trying to reel. But nothing budged. I thought for sure I had lost the fish–that he’d dived and hung me up. I had no idea how big the fish was, but that didn’t matter. What had me worried was losing the lure.”
The fight with the fish was brief but frenzied. Perry and fishing buddy Jack Page bought the bass onto the boat, and although they noted its large size, it did not occur to the anglers that this could be a world record.
“The first thing I thought of was how nice a chunk of meat to take home,” Perry recalled.
Sure enough, he brought it home where his mother fried it up and served it as dinner for two nights. Thankfully, Perry had stopped on the way home to measure the fish in a grocery store in Helena. The bass measured 32-1/2 inches long and 28-1/2 inches wide. Perry then weighed it at the nearby post office and on a whim, submitted it to a Field & Stream contest.