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Spotting Up For World Record

Tournament angler scales new heights to get fish certified by IGFA

By: Mike Suchan,

Keith Bryan poses with his potential world record spotted bass. (Steve Adams photo)

Keith Bryan poses with his potential world record spotted bass. (Steve Adams photo)

Keith Bryan’s spotted bass lost about 9 ounces between tournament scales and a certified scale, the difference between the IGFA world record and just another big fish.

The president of Powell Rods caught the beast February 22 during the first day of the California Tournament Trail Pro-Am event on New Melones Lake. It weighed 10.48 pounds, bolstering his leading bag of 21.39.

The tournament was abuzz and he was beaming with the prospect of a world record. He kept the fish in water for a trip to a grocery store, but alas, the bass dropped to 9.91 pounds on its certified scale. Record chance lost. Or so Bryan thought.

The 49-year-old then learned the tournament scale could be certified after the fact, and it was sent across country to Dania, Fla., where record coordinator Jack Vitek tested it out and gave it the IGFA’s seal of approval. Record hopes revived.

His submission is being considered at the original weight of 10.48, and after the 60-day process Bryan could have the All Tackle World Record Spotted Bass in April, as well as the 8-pound line record.

"This is just an unbelievable experience," Bryan said. "I could never have, in my wildest dreams, imagined catching a world record of any sort. But, to have it happen in a tournament is amazing. I can only wait now and hope that IGFA has enough documentation to certify it as a record. But, even if it doesn't happen, this has truly been a once in a lifetime experience.”

The experience is similar to one lived out 13 years ago by spotted bass world record holder Bryan Shishido – what’s with Bryans and world record spots?

There are more coincidences. Not so odd that the big fish led both to tournament victories, but when Shishido weighed his at the American Bass Big Valley Team Tournament on Pine Flat Lake in 2001, it was 10.48 pounds, same as Bryan’s. A certified scale knocked it down to 10.27. (Read Shishido’s first-person account)

Although Bryan’s lost more weight, the big gals were caught on lakes only three hours apart and both came on Shimano reels and Yamamoto Senkos. Both tried to release their fish alive, but only Bryan succeeded.

"I knew it was my job to get her back into the water safely," he told Jody Only for this report on

And even if the record isn’t certified, Bryan is appreciative of his good fortunes.

"Really though, it's not about a world record,” he said. “It's about the fact that I was lucky enough to be that guy. I was that guy that went out and had a great day fishing. How much more fun can a guy have in a sport that he loves?"

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