To the best of my knowledge, Jason Covington’s new book, “American BeheMouth,” is a work of fiction. However, the science laced throughout the story is supposedly legit. This a chronicle of a couple that spent many years growing a largemouth bass to the 27-pound mark in a 70-acre, man-made, temperature controlled lake in Kentucky. “American BeheMouth” is so new, I haven’t gotten the chance to read it yet, but according to Covington’s website:
The book is much more than a fishing story; it is a metaphor for many other things: life, family, sacrifice, commitment, and dreams. In addition, it raises ethical questions about modern American sports, American businesses and consumerism, and our quest for the elusive.
Though I look forward to checking out this book, none of us have to read it to discuss the premise (which, by the way, was actually attempted and written about in Monte Burke’s “Sow Belly”). Let’s say someone actually did grow a 27-pounder in a man-made lake, and then caught the hawg and claimed it as the new all-tackle world-record. Do you believe it should count? Before you answer, here’s some food for thought.
If you look at state trout records, mostly in the Northeast, Southeast, and Mid-West, you can almost count on those fish as having been hatchery raised. To give an example, the current New Jersey state-record brook trout weighs 7 pounds, 3 ounces, and was caught in the Rockaway River. I promise you it didn’t get that fat sipping emergers and crawfish. That fish was grown in a metal tank, pellet fed, and dumped in the river. Yet no one balks at the record. The current world-record rainbow trout, all 48 pounds of it, is a mutant strain of hatchery fish. Many anglers may not have like it, but there was no public outcry or protest over it becoming a world-record.