Monday, February 14, 2011

Georgia's Bass Record

By now you have probably heard that Georgia’s world record largemouth bass caught by George Perry in 1932 has been tied.  Yep, a fellow named Manabu Kurita caught a 22 pound 5 oz largemouth bass in Lake Biwa in Shinga Prefecture of Japan, never mind that largemouth are not native to Japan.  I think official claims are that the record is tied.  But in my opinion if the bass weight is .00001 ounces more than Mr. Perry’s, the record was beat.  It was bound to happen sooner or later but it was a good long ride for our state.  But not to worry, Georgia has another record bass.  One I believe is of even more important and one I believe is not marketed as it should be.  

There are eight species of black bass recognized in the United States.  The largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass (both Alabama Spots and Kentucky spots, they are separate species now), shoal bass, redeye bass, Suwannee bass and the Guadalupe bass all make up the recognized black bass species.  Actually I believe the Bartram’s bass is also a separate black bass species but that has yet to be scientifically confirmed.  Of these, eight, possibly nine species, Georgia’s has all but one, the Guadalupe.  The Guadalupe is native only to Texas.  No other state can make that claim.  That seems to me to be a record Georgia should be proud of and one Georgia should advertise and promote to fishermen around the world.  In a week or less in the spring a fisherman could visit Georgia and catch each of these species with little to no problem.  For any bass fisherman, that should be a reason to Go Fish Georgia.  Why is that not a part of the Governor’s Go Fish Georgia campaign?

Why does Georgia hold this record?  The record is due to one resource and that resource is Georgia’s rivers.  That’s right; rivers hold the key to this Georgia record.  While some of the black bass species can live in lakes or reservoirs some like the Suwannee and the shoal bass can only live and thrive in flowing waters.  Add to this the fact that Georgia has cooler waters in the north end of the state where some like the smallmouth live and warmer waters in the southern end where the Suwannee bass live and Georgia has all the right waters to allow these many black bass species to thrive.  In fact, it is possible in some of Georgia’s rivers to catch as many as 5 of these black bass species in the same day on the same river.  That is another record Georgia should be proud of.  If you do not yet understand the importance of Georgia’s rivers read on.

 Along with these black bass, Georgia’s rivers contain sunfish of many species, stripers, hybrids, gar, Grinnell, jacks, many species of catfish including the sometimes enormous flathead, sturgeon, American shad and many other fish species most people don’t fish for.  So as you can see, Georgia’s rivers have a nearly endless variety of fish to pursue.  Even Georgia’s world record largemouth was a result of its river system.  The record largemouth caught by Mr. Perry was caught from an ox-bow lake off the Ocmulgee River.  An ox-bow lake is a small lake formed when the river changes it course and an elbow of the river is cut off from the main river flow.  These ox-bows are fed by the rivers when they flood with some still connected by small streams to the rivers.  Do you see the importance of Georgia’s rivers now?

Yes Georgia still holds a bass record.  A record only possible because of Georgia’s rivers.  A record Georgia should not only be proud of but one Georgia should promote.  A record a young fellow from Japan can never break.