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World record bass sought by some anglers across the nation

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Seventy-six years ago, when George Washington Perry caught his world record 22-pound 4-ounce largemouth, which still reigns today, fishing was much less complicated. You see, George wasn't out searching for such a monstrous fish utilizing scientific principles, high-tech equipment and numerous techniques. Instead he and his fishing partner, Jake Page, utilized one fishing pole and one lure, a Creek Chub Wiggle Fish shared between the two of them, changing back and forth as the other rowed their small homemade boat around Montgomery Lake in Jacksonville, GA that rainy morning, June 2, 1932.

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Today the philosophies of angling are much different. In George Perry's era, fishing was a way to put food on the table, not a way to win money in a tournament or contest, although he did receive a Browning shotgun with shells and some clothes from the Field and Stream contest he entered, collecting the prize long after the fish had been eagerly devoured by Perry and his family.

Today, the quest for a new world record bass weighs heavy on the minds of anglers nationwide. Although the fish probably won't come from the Midwest, anglers traveling to the east, west and south have a chance to make history.

A trio of anglers in California have been on the trail of a world record largemouth for several years. Mac Weakley, Jed Dickerson and Mike Winn are devoted to breaking the record and in 2006 they did it. Well, almost.

The three were fishing Lake Dixon, a small 72-acre impoundment in San Diego County, when Weakley brought a massive fish to boatside. The catch was no dumb luck; the three had been fishing the lake daily, specifically trying to catch a behemoth largemouth circling a spawning bed. The fish had been caught and released by Jed Dickerson in 2003, weighing 21.7 pounds at that time and easily identifiable by a large black spot beneath its gill plate.

Obviously the fish had grown, because once landed, the scale tipped to 25.1 pounds, crushing George Perry's record. But there was a glitch; the fish had been snagged, disqualifying the catch as a record.

Though Mac Weakley and Mike Winn took a break from fishing after scrutiny for the 2006 catch, Jed Dickerson continued his search for the fish. Heading to the lake nearly every day, Dickerson devoted massive amounts of time and energy to catching the fish everyone called "Dottie".

Previous Minnesota Vikings head coach Dennis Green even got on board, joining Dickerson in the boat, hoping to catch the fish. Green had the opportunity to see Dottie on her spawning bed along with two smaller males. He was so impressed with Jed Dickerson's ability and attitude that he signed him to Green's business, Dennis Green Sports Marketing.

This past spring, the hunt came to an end. Park Rangers at Lake Dixon called Dickerson and asked him to identify a huge largemouth found floating on the surface. Dickerson saw the mark and agreed that it was the bass he had spent the past 10 years chasing.

Although the fish that had such great potential to break the world record is gone, someday, somewhere, maybe in another 76 years, a record could emerge.

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