Have you ever seen a 22-pound, 4.97-ounce largemouth bass? Few have, but you can join their ranks by attending the 2011 Bassmaster Classic in New Orleans, La., and stopping by the Yamaha booth at the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick's Sporting Goods.
Yamaha, which recently obtained the mount, will be displaying the bass caught by Manabu Kurita from Japan's Lake Biwa on July 2, 2009. The fish was certified as a tie for the world record in January 2010 by the International Game Fish Association. It shares the top spot in the record books with a 22-4 largemouth caught by George W. Perry from Montgomery Lake, Ga., in 1932. (Though Kurita's bass was slightly heavier than Perry's, the IGFA requires a two-ounce differential in weight for records weighing less than 25 pounds.)
While the details of Kurita's catch are well known, fans may not realize that he caught the leviathan from a Yamaha-powered Skeeter bass boat. This led Yamaha to contact Kurita about a professional relationship.
Kurita is now a member of the Yamaha pro staff and will soon be fishing from a Skeeter FX21 powered by a Yamaha VMAX SHO.
"I am very happy to be a Yamaha pro," said Kurita, from his home in Kyoto, Japan. "I caught the fish in a Yamaha-powered Skeeter. The outboard has served me well."
The record setting angler is focused on catching an even bigger bass than his Biwa giant and will work with Yamaha as he pursues that goal. Fans can keep up with Kurita on Facebook.
"I have seen even larger bass in Lake Biwa than the one that I caught," Kurita said. "I know I will be able to find one again."
Kurita's mount will be on display at the Yamaha and Skeeter booths during all three days of the Bassmaster Classic Expo. The angler will be available for autographs and photos. It'll be his first opportunity to observe the Classic.
"This is a dream come true for me," said Kurita, who speaks little English. "I look forward to seeing this great event and meeting some of the best anglers in the world."
A few days after the Classic, on February 24, Kurita will be visiting hallowed American trophy bass ground as he attends a Rotary Club luncheon in McRae, Ga., near Montgomery Lake, where Perry caught his record.
"I want to see where George Perry caught his fish," said Kurita. "His record still stands after many, many years."
Also attending the luncheon will be George L. ("Dazy") Perry, son of the late George W. Perry, and Bill Baab, recognized authority on the Perry bass and author of Remembering George W. Perry (www.whitefishpress.com). Following lunch, Kurita will view Perry memorabilia at the nearby Helena (Ga.) Museum and visit Montgomery Lake.
Yamaha has not decided where the record mount will reside on a full-time basis, but has not ruled out the possibility of having it tour so that fans all over America can see it.
For more information about the Bassmaster Classic and the concurrent Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick's Sporting Goods, visit Bassmaster.com/Attend.