- Ken Duke
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I've always been fascinated by the world record largemouth bass.
I remember very distinctly the first article I ever read about the record. I was 14 years old and was looking at my first copy of Bassmaster Magazine. The title of the article grabbed me: "George Perry's Amazing Record Still Eludes Bass Fishermen After 44 Long Years." Since then, I've probably read that same article dozens of times. The record and the chase to break it has been that compelling to me.
And from the very beginning I had a bunch of questions. What did the fish look like? What lure was used to catch it? Were there other bass out there just as big?
Who was George Perry?
Slowly, over years and years, most of those questions have been answered. All but the last. Because Perry died a couple of years before that Bassmaster article was published and before any outdoor writers thought to ask him for the tiniest details about his catch, there seemed to be little chance of knowing anything about the man who holds the most revered record in all of fishing.
With Remembering George W. Perry, my friend Bill Baab has given substance to the line in the record book and form to the myth surrounding Perry and his catch. This is the first real insight the bass fishing public has gotten into the life of the man who made history with a single cast and who lived a full and rewarding life that had very little to do with his angling accomplishment. Bill gives us a look at the man who was passionate about his family, his friends and flying. He shows us the George Perry remembered for always having a smile on his face and a prank at the ready, quick with a joke or a good-natured nickname and generous to a fault.
Of course, even a true Southern gentleman like Perry had another side, and Bill shares that with us, too. In the end, we're left with the feeling that Perry is exactly the kind of person I would want to hold our sport's most precious record. A man who had pride in his angling accomplishment but who never let it affect who he was or how he lived his life.
It's often said that records are made to be broken, and in 2009 in Japan a bass weighing less than an ounce more than Perry's took a share of the top spot in the record books. Manabu Kurita's story is still being told. Perry's is secure in Remembering George W. Perry.
That Perry wasn't hounded by outdoor writers and fishing fans during his lifetime does not mean that history passed him by. Quite the contrary. It took time for history to catch up with George Perry and to realize the significance of what he did and who he was as a man.
To order a copy of Remembering George W. Perry, visit whitefishpress.com.
22hBrando Simeo Starkey, The Undefeated staff writer