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Sowbelly status still not determined

Whatever happened to that huge largemouth bass caught this summer in Japan. Last we heard it was going to tie the old record out of Georgia. Did the (International Game Fish Association) certify the bass as record-tying?

— Mike B., Medford

The IGFA is still in the process of verifying information before certifying that the 22-pound, 4-ounce largemouth caught this summer in Japan will equal the 1932 all-tackle world record bass — the original "sowbelly" — caught by George Perry.

IGFA Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser said Tuesday that the Florida-based keeper of fishing world records hopes to have the review completed "within a few weeks."

The IGFA has been investigating the catch by Japanese pro angler Manabu Kurita since the application came in July 2. The Japanese Game Fish Association is assisting the IGFA in verifying the information, but language barriers and the different time zones has slowed the effort, he says.

"This one's taking quite a bit of time," Schratwieser says.

Kurita's application states that he caught the record contender while trolling a bluegill through a canal at Lake Biwa northeast of Kyoto. It measured 27.2 inches long and has a reported girth of 26.77 inches.

The quest for the next sowbelly — the holy grail of largemouth with the pig-like girth — has spanned generations of Southern bass anglers, only to see the tying fish likely to come from Japan.

Send questions to "Since You Asked-Outdoors," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to oregonoutdoors@mailtribune.com (please type SYA in the subject line).