World Record Bass part II
From Quote Below: "We know because we saw it.”
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UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
11:00 a.m. March 21, 2006
SAN DIEGO – An official for the International Game Fish Association said today that the 25-pound, 1-ounce bass caught and released by Mac Weakley of Carlsbad at Dixon Lake Monday will get consideration as a world record.
Jason Schratwieser, conservation director for the association, commended Weakley and his crew of Mike Winn and Jed Dickerson for releasing the big bass, which, if certified as a record, will shatter the present mark of 22 pounds, 4 ounces, the weight of a fish caught by George W. Perry in 1932 at Montgomery Lake in Georgia.
Weakley foul-hooked the largemouth bass, with the hook lodged on the fish's left side, just below its dorsal fin.
California Department of Fish and Game regulations state that a fish, to be legally caught, must be hooked in the mouth while it tries to take a bait, lure or fly. The game fish association states, for its record-consideration process, that a catch will be disqualified if a fish is “intentionally” foul-hooked. Weakley said he wasn't intentionally trying to foul-hook or snag the bass, and three witnesses to the catch confirmed that.
“We don't have any information on the fish right now, so we don't have any comment,” Schratwieser said. “But if it is 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 – might not matter if the photos and video they took substantiate the size of the bass.
“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.”
Schratwieser said it will take a month or more to confirm the fish as an all-tackle world record.
Weakley said Monday that he will apply for the record. He defended his decision not to take measurements.
“I didn't want to lay it (the bass) on the dock and have it stressed more than it was,” Weakley said. “People can take it for what it's worth. That's just how it is.”
Added Dickerson: “Whatever happens, we know it's the world record. Unless that one gets caught again, no one will ever see another bass that big.”
Meantime, Dixon Lake was quiet Wednesday morning considering that the world-record bass still swims there.
“It rained all night and there's no one here,” said Jim Dayberry, supervisor of rangers at Dixon. “I would expect that later today and into the weekend it's going to go crazy here.”
Dayberry also explained how Weakley, Winn and Dickerson had early access to the lake Monday He said the anglers bought a camping permit that allowed them to bypass the line of cars that had to wait until the lake opened at 6 a.m.
Weakley, Winn and Dickerson were able to buy their lake permits and rental boat before the anglers in the vehicle line reached the lake.
“We allow campers to come in anytime,” Dayberry said. “That's why we have a ranger here 24/7. If not, we'd have this lake poached every night. But campers come to the gate and wait in the parking lot for the ranger to come up and sell them a spot.”
The fact Weakley and his crew got in early that way didn't sit well with some anglers, but it was legal.
“When the ranger opened the gate, we were the first ones in, so we were stoked,” said Rancho Bernardo's Steve Barnett, who was there with his younger brother, Dan, trying to get in some fishing before school. “Dan knew a guy was fishing for that fish the day before and that there was a 20-pounder out there. We were going to try and catch it. I wanted to get Dan a junior record before he turns 16. But when we got to the lake we looked out and (Weakley, Winn and Dickerson) were already on the lake. So we just decided to sit there and watch them. At least we saw the world record caught.”
Dayberry said he respected the way Weakley, Winn and Dickerson handled the bass after it was caught.
“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.
“Sure, we'd love to post it as the world record right now, say it's done and in the record book. There could be a 24½ -pounder caught at Casitas or Castaic today, but everyone will know there's a bigger one swimming in Dixon.
“We know because we saw it.”
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