MILWAUKEE -- Ladies and gentlemen, we have a record. To be more specific, a long-standing record has been tied.
The International Game Fish Association announced Friday that it certified a 22-pound, 4-ounce largemouth bass caught in Japan in July.
After 6 months of applications, translations, fact-checking, interviews and, yes, even a polygraph test, the IGFA accepted the fish as legitimate. The giant bass was caught by Manabu Kurita, 32, of Aichi, Japan.
As such, it ties the record established 77 years ago by George Perry in Georgia's Lake Montgomery.
Since the largemouth bass record is arguably the "holy grail" of worldwide freshwater angling -- here in Wisconsin we would argue for the musky -- the IGFA was extremely thorough in its certification, according to officials.
The documentation was received through the IGFA's sister association the Japan Game Fish Association (JGFA). IGFA conservation director Jason Schratwieser said Kurita's application was meticulously documented with the necessary photos and video.
But since many rumors circulated about the fish, including that it was a sterile hybrid and that it was caught in a fish refuge, IGFA had to analyze the fish and eventually asked Kurita to submit to a lie-detector test. The angler immediately agreed and passed the test.
Kurita caught the fish with a live bluegill as bait.
The site of the catch is more than a little ironic. Largemouth bass are not native to Japan and are treated in much of the country as an unwanted invasive.
The previous Japanese bass record weighed 19.15 pounds and was caught in 2003. The Wisconsin record largemouth weighed 11 pounds, 3 ounces; it was caught in 1940 in Lake Ripley in Jefferson County.
Speculation on the site of the next world-record bass has mostly centered on lakes in California, Texas and Mexico.
A 25-pound, 1-ounce largemouth was caught -- but foul-hooked and therefore not eligible for record status -- in California in 2006.
Interestingly, initial reports in July placed Kurita's catch at 22 pounds, 5 ounces. The IGFA did not comment Friday on any "shrinkage" but did take credit for diligence.
"Six months may seem like a lot of time to determine if a fish ties a record," said Schratwieser. "Although we treat all records with equal rigor, the All-Tackle largemouth bass record is nothing less than iconic and the bass-angling community deserved nothing less."
The IGFA is headquartered in Dania Beach, Fla. A list of its all-tackle records may be viewed at www.igfa.org.