It's a World Record Bass!
While browsing the Internet fishing message boards as I frequently do late at night, I came across an interesting post. An angler wanted to know if in the event a largemouth bass was caught in California that exceeded the weight of George Perry's record fish, should it be considered a world record? Sounds like there should be an obvious answer, but the guy had a valid point. The fish in California are distant relatives of the original group of Florida strain largemouth bass that were placed in a small reservoir to reproduce offspring with a trophy class bloodline. These fish were then, for the most part, handfed trout their entire lives. Growing at nearly double the rate of a bass in Florida, these bass get big in a hurry.
Ok, so it does seem a little unfair that California is pretty much a guaranteed lottery ticket for catching a bass over the 22 pound 4 ounce mark set back in 1932. Oh well, there isn't too much left in life that is fair. I don't care if Barry Bonds grew a 30 pound bass in a pond behind the BALCO laboratories. If he catches that fish in accordance to the law, it is a world record. Just because the fish had been fed some "I didn't know they were illegal" steroids, does not make it an illegal catch or any less of a world record (unless there is some anti-doping rule that I am unaware of).
As much as I wish Perry's bass would maintain the record forever, I know it won't happen. Someday an angler in sunny southern California is going to be casting a 4-pound, 20-inch swim bait and he/she will catch a 25-pound bass. That angler may or may not even be aware that the fish had been fed a smorgasbord of trout its entire life. Even if they do know, the likelihood of them actually caring is slim to none. Besides, we don't care that our lakes are stocked with millions of other baby fish each year. We also don't care when a truckload of crawdads are dumped on the shoreline and we definitely don't feel any guilt when Tilapia are stocked into a body of water with the sole intent of feeding bass.
If you happen to reside near one of these bodies of water, that is blessed with frequent visits from the drive-up food truck, then good for you. The odds of you catching bigger fish just went up.
There is one thing that is certain, the angler that catches the world record bass is going to be faced with a great deal of doubt, hatred and verbal abuse from other anglers. No matter how they catch the record fish, people are going to call foul and say they cheated. Personally, I am pretty sure that I could deal with the onslaught of player haters. While they were scheming on different ways to say I cheated, I would be hiring a Brink's truck to haul my endorsement checks to the bank.
Until next time, Fish Hard, Fish Often and Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game.