Jack Ballard
A person holding a bass with a lure coming out of its mouth

From striped bass to largemouth bass to Chilean sea bass (which isn’t even a bass) there are bass on every continent, and in saltwater and fresh. While anglers spend thousands of hours and billions of dollars trying to figure out what bass eat, where they live and how they behave, few anglers take time to really get to know the bass.

Bass fishing can make you rich. Bassmaster Elite and Classic tournaments boast purses of more than $1 million per event. The typical winner takes home at least $100,000. Kevin Van Dam is the all-time money winner among competitive bass casters, with career earnings of more than $6 million. The highest paying kayak fishing tournament, Kayak Bass Fishing National Championships, paid $20,000 to the top angler in 2016 and 42,000 in 2017.

The International Gamefish Association (IGFA) recognizes 27 species of bass for its IGFA World Record and BASSMaster.com considers nine species to be true black bass.

According to a report prepared by Southwick Associates, 11-million largemouth bass anglers spent more than $16 billion dollars in 2012. In 2002, Southwick determined that anglers threw $2.4 billion dollars at striped bass.

One of the longest standing IGFA World Records is George Perry’s 22-pound, four-ounce largemouth caught in 1932. A California angler landed a 22-pound 8-ounce largemouth in 2003, but the record is not recognized by the IGFA due to lack of sufficient documentation.

The biggest bass ever landed in a kayak was likely Brian Fagan’s 74.2-pound white sea bass caught near La Jolla, California.

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