November 14, 2008
Merwin: Record Largemouth Mystery
By John Merwin & Joe Cermele
In our current (December/January) print edition, I describe the stories behind some world-record catches, noting how puzzling it was that for years there seemed to be no photos of George Perry's 1932 world-record largemouth.
As it turns out, the lack of a photo was just because nobody bothered to look at the pertinent back issues of Field & Stream, which certified Perry's record in the first place as part of our then-annual fishing contest. We published a photo of Perry's bass in 1934, and the magazine page is reproduced here (click image to enlarge).
Unfortunately, the magazine staff at the time cut the bass out of whatever background might have been in the picture. Even well before desktop computers and Adobe PhotoShop, there were plenty of ways to doctor a photograph for reproduction.
In 2006, a photo of a man (not Perry) holding Perry's bass surfaced among some Perry family effects. So compare the two. Are they the same fish? And was the photo we published in 1934 possibly cut from an old print of the newly found image?
Looks that way to me, but the images are old and fuzzy, which makes it hard to tell.