Final fall, a dishonest scandal rocked the fishing world. Two professional anglers have been caught stuffing walleyes with a number of lead weights earlier than a match weigh-in. The anglers have been charged with felonies and can probably obtain severe punishments, and the incident is already thought-about one of the crucial outrageous fishing match dishonest scandals of all time.

And it’s paying homage to one other fishing scandal that many anglers right this moment may not keep in mind—the story of the most important smallmouth bass ever caught. On July 9, 1955, David Lee Hayes was fishing together with his spouse and 6-year-old son on Dale Hole Lake, which straddles the Tennessee-Kentucky border. On the time, Hayes was already thought-about an completed bass and walleye fisherman.

At round 10 a.m., he was trolling a plug when an enormous fish hammered his lure. He quickly boated a completely big 11-pound, 15-ounce, smallmouth bass. On the time, Discipline & Stream was the official keeper of fishing data. The journal rapidly licensed it because the rod-and-reel world-record smallmouth bass. And the document stood uncontested for many years.

A Dock Employee Cries Foul

Then in 1996, 41 years after Hayes made his spectacular catch, a Tennessee faculty trainer unearthed a beforehand ignored affidavit from a dock employee at Dale Hole, based on a narrative by ESPN. The affidavit alleged that Hayes had stuffed the bass with a number of kilos of lead weights and motor elements and that it was truly an 8-pounder.

The backlash was speedy. The IGFA, which had taken over fish data from Discipline & Stream, rapidly rescinded Hayes’s document, as did Kentucky. Tennessee, for its half, didn’t disqualify the catch.

However the saga didn’t finish there.

In 1996, Tennessee Wildlife Sources Company assistant director Ron Fox launched a radical investigation into the affidavit. He discovered the dock employee’s story to be fraudulent—and that the employee probably wasn’t even current on the dock when Hayes introduced the fish in.

Regardless of the investigation, the fish stayed out of the IGFA and Kentucky document books till Bassmaster Journal highlighted the story in a 2005 journal characteristic. Later that yr, each record-keeping companies reinstated Hayes’s document.

Learn Subsequent: The Large Lake Erie Document Smallmouth Bass Was Shockingly Outdated

Hayes was 80 years outdated when his data have been reinstated. “They may say what they needed,” he advised Discipline & Stream on the time. “I had the enjoyable, and I’ve the fish. I by no means had any doubt what it weighed.”

Hayes handed away in July 2020. His world document nonetheless stands—and is at present thought-about one of many fishing data very unlikely to be damaged.

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