Despite the popularity of bass fishing, world record catches are surprisingly infrequent. You'd think with all the professional tournament anglers and weekend warriors pounding the water, a new record-breaking bass would turn up every few years or so. But that's not the case. In fact, the official IGFA all-tackle record for biggest largemouth bass ever caught has been held for over 80 years. Only in the last decade has the record been challenged. As with most fish tales, the story behind the world record bass isn't so straightforward. To start unwinding this yarn, allow us to introduce you to a Great Depression-era farmer named George Perry...
Every July, teams of anglers venture into the deep blue waters of the Atlantic with one goal in mind: catching the big fish and cashing big checks at the Ocean City Tuna Tournament. Although Ocean City is known as the "White Marlin Capital of the World," the celebrated fish of the tournament is the tuna—bluefin, yellowfin, and bigeye. The hefty cash purse is divvied up among winning teams across several different categories, with the top prizes going to biggest fish and heaviest stringer.
After a quick run across open water, the famed Hannibal Bank seamount appears on the depth finder. The hum of the dual Suzuki 300's softens as the 33-foot catamaran—T.O.P. CAT— slows down and eases into position. 200 yards away, a flock of cackling seabirds hovers over a boiling slurry of fleeing baitfish and slicing fins. It's prime fishing season in the Gulf of Chiriquí, and the tuna bite is on. This is panama sport fishing at its best.
This was the response Ben Verner, President of Huk Gear, received when word got out about his goal to catch an giant Atlantic bluefin tuna on a Stella spinning reel. When Drew Herma, Director of Marketing at Huk, heard Verner's crazy idea, he was supportive but didn't see how it was possible. He told Verner, "Oh yeah, cool man, you're gonna get it,” but in his mind he was thinking, There's no way. There's just no way.