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*Breaking News*.... Not seeking record!

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Just letting you all know, you can rest easy in Georgia...... Till I get out this weekend...... ;)

;D

By Ed Zieralski

UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

March 22, 2006

For almost 74 years, George W. Perry's name has been associated with the most famous largemouth bass ever caught, and for a while this week it looked as if John MacArthur Weakley's name might take the old Georgian's place. But not now.

George W. Perry, you can stop rolling over in your grave.

Late last night, the man better known as Mac Weakley decided he'd had enough of the controversy behind his potential world-record catch, that 25-pound, 1-ounce Queen Kong of a bass he foul-hooked at Dixon Lake on Monday. He decided not to submit the catch to the International Game Fish Association for approval as the all-tackle, world-record largemouth bass.

To tell you the truth, the three of us have been talking to friends and family the last day and Mike (Winn) has been checking the Internet, and we're seeing that it's 50-50 in terms of support for the catch standing as a world record, Weakley said.

It seems 50 percent feel it should stand as a record and 50 percent say it shouldn't. That's why Jed (Dickerson), Mike and I have decided not to submit it as a world record to the IGFA. We don't want to go out breaking the record with so many people doubting it. We want it to be 100 percent or more realistically 90 percent being behind it with no controversy. We plan to be back with a world record bass everyone will get behind.

So ended this crew's current long and grueling quest for the world-record bass, for now. Weakley, Dickerson and Winn watched yesterday as Weakley's controversial catch went national and international. News services and sports shows and even the Drudge Report, for goodness sake, ran with the story like a bass that just gobbled a stocked rainbow trout.

It's been more mayhem than any of us expected, believe me, said Mike Winn, who manned the motor of the boat while Weakley and Dickerson alternated casts at the huge, egg-laden female bass. But it was Winn who posed for all pictures taken of the bass before it was released back into Dixon Lake.

Weakley caught the female from a nest she was patrolling in 12 to 15 feet of water, no more than 15 yards from shore and 15 yards from Dixon's fishing dock. The fact Weakley foul-hooked the bass from a nest in clear water kicked in the more than century-old debate over whether it's ethical to fish for spawning females by irritating them into a frenzy so they smack or inhale a lure.

I have mixed emotions about fishing for spawning bass and I respect other's opinions who feel they shouldn't be fished, Weakley said. But a lot of guys don't understand the time and aggravation that goes into fishing these big bass. The stars really have to be aligned. Conditions have to be perfect. Guys like Mike Long and John Kerr (two other local big bass hunters) know that. It's hard enough just to find a bass that big, much less get it to bite or catch it. Only the people who have caught and fought these big bass know that.

Besides the ethical question of fishing spawning female bass, the bigger issue for Weakley's bass and Dixon Lake was whether the catch would have been approved as the all-tackle world record by the IGFA. Now that's not an issue.

Earlier yesterday, Jason Schratwieser, conservation director for the IGFA, commended Weakley and crew for releasing the bass, which, had it been approved, would have shattered Perry's nearly 74-year-old record of 22 pounds, 4 ounces, the weight of the lunker the Georgian caught June 2, 1932, at Montgomery Lake in Georgia.

Schratwieser said yesterday that Weakley's catch, like all potential record catches, would have been considered for the all-tackle world record had he submitted it.

Weakley was putting the components of the application together, but the gaping holes included the fact that Weakley unintentionally foul-hooked the fish, didn't take measurements of its length and girth and didn't weigh it on a certified scale.

We don't have any information on the fish right now, so we don't have any comment, Schratwieser said yesterday, not knowing Weakley was going to change his mind about submitting the catch for approval. But if it's submitted, it's something we'll discuss and look at. Absolutely. One thing we never want to do is penalize a recreational angler for releasing a fish. I commend the guy for releasing such a big, spawning female because she'll contribute a lot to that lake.

A big female like that will produce more eggs, but more importantly, more quality eggs. There may be a genetic component that she passes on to subsequent generations of larger, healthier fish.

Schratwieser added that the fact Weakley didn't take measurements of the fish length and girth, an integral part of the IGFA's application process wouldn't have mattered if the photos and video of the weigh-in he took substantiated the bass' monstrous size.

We like to have the measurements for several reasons, Schratwieser said. One is for scientific purposes, so we can get a better understanding of the size of the species. Measurements also help confirm the dimensions of the fish if the pictures are lacking in the application.

One of the key issues would have been the foul-hooking of the bass. By IGFA rules of angling, so long as Weakley didn't intentionally foul-hook the bass, his catch would have been viable. But because the catch wasn't legal by California Department of Fish and Game regulations, it violated one of the IGFA's main principles, which is that anglers must comply with equipment or angling regulations.

State fish and game regulations in California clearly say that a fish, to be legally caught, must be hooked in the mouth while it tries to take a bait, lure or fly. Weakley didn't violate the law when he accidentally foul-hooked the bass, but he and his crew did violate the law by not immediately releasing it.

The fish has to voluntarily take the bait or lure in its mouth, and if it didn't, it's not a legal fish, said Erick Elliott, Julian-based game warden for the Department of Fish and Game.

By the letter of the law, it's a violation because it's been illegally taken and not supposed to be in possession. But in the spirit of the law, a fish that big, it's human nature to want to document that catch. I don't know if I would have written a ticket for that even if I was watching it.

Jim Dayberry, who is supervisor of rangers at Dixon Lake, said yesterday that he and his staff respected the way in which Weakley, Winn and Dickerson handled the bass after it was caught and dealt with the massive publicity the catch produced.

They saw how much Jed's 21-pounder (the 21-pound, 11-ounce fish caught in 2003 and also believed to be the same bass) was stressed by being out of the water so long, Dayberry said. They knew keeping it out of the water would have been the kiss of death for that big bass. They wanted to do minimal damage. And there was a lot to be said about their honesty. These are stand-up guys we've known since they were kids. They have a lot of heart.

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The sad thing about this is that, what I highlighted in bold, will never happen.  Yes, it turned out to maybe be true in this case, but we've become a society of "Guilt before Innocence".  Everyone will question a WR every time it comes up.  Too many people believe in conspiracy theories, frauds, etc.  It's sad what we've turned into......  :-[

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Wow!

Great article. I think these guys really tried to do the right thing.

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The sad thing about this is that, what I highlighted in bold, will never happen.  Yes, it turned out to maybe be true in this case, but we've become a society of "Guilt before Innocence".  Everyone will question a WR every time it comes up.  Too many people believe in conspiracy theories, frauds, etc.  It's sad what we've turned into......  :-[

At least at this tiny lake there aways seems to be witnesses around and they are prepared for world record catches there. Everybody knows that she is in there and I believe most or all of the lake is visible from shoreline (I know we have locals here that can verify that). We may actually get to see the record broken on video/pictures or at least witnessed by others. Had there not been witnesses these guys could have easily had a great shot at the prize and I don't for one minute think they would've done that.

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I'm actually kind of glad he's not going for the WR. It saves us a lot of controversy. I'd love to see the WR held by California, not that it matters. But to have it fall this way doesn't seem right. Too many questions will surround this catch.

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It's so easy guys. Follow the IGFA standards on any possible WR fish, and there will be no arguments. Not even from me. Except for the possible foul hooking, we would have least known if he did in fact have to release a new WR. Follow the rules set in place. Ya'll read the fishing rules for each state to each other all the time. Follow the IGFA rules, and lets put a new WR in the book. Go Cali, Go Cali, Go Cali!!!! Keep on Bassin!!!! :)

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If I knew I was legit, I don't care if I had 5% support.

Guy sounds like to me, he isn't sure himself. Whether it's legit enough to be in the books is nobodies fault but his. Nothing to do with supoort, or guilty or anything else. Looking for support on the net? From thousands of people that have a clue about legitimacy of the catch? That tells me something is weird right there. People are praising this guy for being stand-up, but in all honesty, the longer this goes, the more I start to suspect shadiness....  If it's legit, you go for the record, if it's not, you tell us why... not worry about controversy or look for support from people that weren't there and don't know you.

I'd be happy about it myself. And jig makers should send him atleast 10 grand. You can bet, there will be alot of white jigs sold this year :)

And one thing i'd like to say. I pretty much always give fishermen the benefit of the doubt when told about a catch. Sometimes, after I've known them awhile, I start to question them, once i see a couple 4 pounders declared 10 pounders. In fact, I believed this would be a WR till I started seeing details and this guys actions after the fact. Now, I'm, starting to wonder what the story would be right now about this bass had no one been around. Which is sad, seeing how I was one of the people that pretty much always took a guy for his word till he showed otherwise.

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      Although I would love to see the record broken, I am glad that it did not fall to a foul hooked bass. In my opinion you should have to actualy get the fish to strike your lure for it to be considerd. I am glad that they released it and that its still out there swimming, and getting hungry.   :)

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Wow!

Great article. I think these guys really tried to do the right thing.

Agree 100 %

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In my opinion this bass will stand as the world record because it was the largest one ever caught. I respect Mac so much for following the rules and putting back that monster bass because it sounds like many people would have broken the lake rules and kept him just to have everything certified but then the record would have been tossed out because rules were violated. I don't see why so many people are upset about this becoming the world record. I just think that a lot of people are jelous and can't stand that they didn't break the record themselves. Great job Mac and a very classy move! I respect your decision 100% and you've got the record in my book!

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http://www.fieldandstream.com/fieldstream/fishing/article/0,13199,1175441,00.html# This link that KU posted seems to paint a little different picture of the "accidental" foul hooking. I'm wondering if this is why they decided to pull the plug on getting it certified as the new world record. Man this could end up being a great movie.

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in the article it says they went out on the lake to talk before weighing it on the dock and then brought up the mark on it's back, kinda like to see what the kids would say?

These guys shouldn't be getting praised, they should be barred from the lake. I've got no doubt, had there been no witness, they would have been claiming a perfect catch.....

Not to mention, they basically stole the kid's find. I bet if those three had been on that spot, and the kids came before them the following day and got that spot, they woulda threw a fit... lol

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It seems that everything might be on the up and up with this fish, after all. It appears that these guys knew what problems, the inconsistencies would cause for them. I hope they get another shot at the record, and everything about the next fish is legitimate.

I can imagine several ways these guys can still profit monetarily from this experience.

Hell, everybody wants to hear a story like this one, even if they don't fish. I can see endorsements coming in from everywhere. The timing is perfect, lots of folks are just now thinking about fishing.

Archer

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It used to be predicted that the next world record would be caught by some guy sitting on a bucket fishing with can of worms, I guess this is the modern day worst case senerio. He might as well thrown it back, not many companies are going to shell out major bucks for the right to say their products snags bigger fish better then any other on the market. He will still always be remembered for catching it and recieves his 15 minutes of fame, might as well do it in the best light as possible.

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It used to be predicted that the next world record would be caught by some guy sitting on a bucket fishing with can of worms, I guess this is the modern day worst case senerio. He might as well thrown it back, not many companies are going to shell out major bucks for the right to say their products snags bigger fish better then any other on the market. He will still always be remembered for catching it and recieves his 15 minutes of fame, might as well do it in a good light.

Yea, but if had went ahead and got it IGFA certified, at least he would have real bragging rights of having to release the biggest bass ever. Now we will never how much it actually weighed until it's caught again.

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Internet forum opinion swayed them? BS, lets face it, these guys caught a fish that never would've cut the IFGA mustard because it broke so many of the rules of the organization.

1. Illegally caught fish per the laws of CA.

2. No measurements, no weight in accordance of the rules.

3. No CA game and fish warden present to witness the fish or it's measurements.

Pretty cut and dried. As for their sportsmanship because they released the fish?

They had to per CA game & fishing law.

Hopefully if this monster is caught again it will be legitimately and with little question or doubt as to it's validity.

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