Christopher Smith

Was This The World’s Largest Smallmouth Bass?

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David was immediately stripped of his record by the International Game Fish Association, who had taken over the task of keeping records from Field & Stream, and was also stripped of his record holding status by both the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and the State of Kentucky. Only Tennessee continued to honor his accomplishment, while the claims that this record had been falsified were investigated.

The dock worker, who had filed the affidavit, was quickly discredited, and indeed there was even considerable doubt about whether he was actually present at the lake on the day of the record catch. Nevertheless, it took some time for the record to be put straight.

Coutesy KY FWS

Coutesy KY FWS

The National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame reinstated David in 1999, but it took another 6 years before the International Game Fishing Association and the State of Kentucky finally put David’s name back into the record books in 2005.

Since that time there has only been one serious attempt to claim David’s record, and that came in 2012 with a fish of just over 12 pounds. The claim failed, however, because the fish was caught using a gill net. Nevertheless, this does show that there are still some very big smallmouth bass out there, so maybe David’s record will not survive for another half century. Only time will tell.

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