Smallmouth Bass: Most Controversial Catch
Angler: David Hayes
Where: Dale Hallow Lake, Tennessee
When: July, 1955
Weight: 11 pounds, 15 ounces
Why it’s Interesting: Hayes’s smallmouth might be one of the most controversial records of all time. If there’s one fish that can rival the largemouth bass in popularity, especially up north. From the Great Lakes to the Great Northwest, they are beloved for their ferocious fight. So we can only imagine how hard a double-digit bronzeback like the one Hayes caught while vacationing with his family in Tennessee would have battled. Hayes’s catch was certified as a world record until allegations surfaced in 1996 that the fish had been in fact stuffed with sinkers to break the record. Hayes was stripped of his honor. A decade later, lacking sufficient evidence that any false claims were made, the IGFA restored Hayes to his former glory. He holds the record once again. He was trolling a pearl Bomber behind his boat when the brick of a fish hit.