I ran across the following article in an 1893 edition of The American Angler. It features a massive Florida Largemouth Bass. How big? Well, William C. Harris--the editor of the journal, whose comments are at the end of the article--felt it was 20-22 pounds. Interestingly, he referenced two bass OVER 22 pounds, with one coming in at 30 pounds! Amazing.
A Twenty-Pound Black Bass
T. B. Byrd.
Being a regular subscriber to your most interesting magazine through our newsdealer here, I take the liberty of submitting to you a problem for which I have no rule, but feel certain that you have. A friend of mine who is a dear lover of the sport, and can number his large-mouth black bass by the thousand, was on a little exploring expedition, in company with anuther friend, and, after getting well down into the wilds, they came across a little lake that was a favorable place for campiug, and, while one was making camp and preparing for a night's lodging, the other went down to the margin of the lake to get a bass for supper. He had hardly made a complete sweep of the rod in passing his spinner over the surface, when a monarch of that secluded little lake was on to him, and a contest began for right of possession, and, as our friend expressed it, it was "nip and tuck." Finally, however, he succeeded in landing him, and was at once convinced that it was the largest specimen of the large-mouth black bass he had ever seen. They had no scales with which to weigh him, and it was considerable distance to any settlement, so they took their tape measure and found him to be thirty-two inches long, twenty-seven inches around belly, and spread of tail seven inches. Now the problem is, what did that fish weigh ?
[If you measured the fish from tip of snout to end of tail fin, we judge its weight to be from twenty to twenty-two pounds. This, however, does not beat the record of the "big-mouths," as one was taken some years ago that weighed twenty-three and three-quarter pounds. We do not doubt that there are black bass of this species in Florida waters that exceed thirty pounds in weight; in fact, we heard through pretty reliable authority that one was caught last season of thirty pounds.—Ed.]
So, what do you think this fish weighed?
-- Dr. Todd