Sowbelly: The Obsessive Quest for the World-Record Largemouth Bass

Sowbelly: The Obsessive Quest for the World-Record Largemouth Bass

by Monte Burke
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In 1932, a farmer named George Washington Perry decided it was too rainy to plow and went fishing. That day, George landed the largest largemouth ever recorded—twenty-two pounds four ounces. The fish has inspired and frustrated hundreds of anglers for decades. They’ve dedicated their lives to the pursuit of “Sowbelly”—a nearly mythical

Overview

In 1932, a farmer named George Washington Perry decided it was too rainy to plow and went fishing. That day, George landed the largest largemouth ever recorded—twenty-two pounds four ounces. The fish has inspired and frustrated hundreds of anglers for decades. They’ve dedicated their lives to the pursuit of “Sowbelly”—a nearly mythical fish, whose swinelike girth holds the key to their dreams.

From an L.A. cop who came within ounces of besting the record to an Alabaman who has lost his marriage and his daughter to this pursuit, Burke takes readers along for the ride in this legendary race.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An artful narrative.”—The Wall Street Journal

“In Burke’s hands, the biggest fish stories become human stories, at once optimistic and tragic, about what keeps us casting into the water of a dream.”—Forbes

“A window to a very small universe where obsession, greed, and chicanery coexist with a strange nobility . . . Sowbelly is a fascinating examination of obsession even for readers who don’t fish.”—St. Petersburg Times

“Monte Burke is the Homer of America’s fishing world as he takes us on an epic journey filled with great drama, colorful characters, and elusive largemouth bass.” —Tom Brokaw

Forbes
Snacking high on the aquatic food chain in tens of thousands of U.S. lakes, ponds, reservoirs, golf course water hazards, irrigation ditches and roadside borrow pits lurks Micropterus salmoides, the largemouth bass. Slightly higher up the chain are the 11 million U.S. anglers who regularly seek out the largemouth as their primary fishing pursuit. It's a $5.5 billion-a-year business supporting gear companies, guides, a travel industry, books, magazines, television pro-gramming, video sales, superstores and even popular video games. A tiny fraction of this enormous number of anglers become top predators themselves, singularly obsessed with beating the still-standing and controversial world-record bass caught by George Washington Perry in 1932-a freakish 22-pound, 4-ounce Georgia "bucket mouth." In this new book, Forbes staff reporter Monte Burke chronicles a year traveling around the country profiling trophy bass anglers, fishery biologists, local historians, paranoiacs and other colorful characters to plumb the depths and/or shallows of their souls. He reels up some wonderful tales from his cast: the taciturn ex-cop, the meticulous former athlete turned bass champion, a born-again ex-con master lure-maker, a biologist trying to grow monster bass in a multimillion-dollar state-of-the-art laboratory and other colorful sorts. The stories are fascinating, hilarious, sad and even poignant. Some anglers lose their families, livelihoods, physical health and minds as they spend day after day racing from night jobs out to open lakes to fry their noodles in the sun in the remote hope of besting a 73-year-old record. The standout chapter in the book is Burke's trip to Cuba, where he meets up withgentle soul Samuel Yera, that country's premier bass fisherman and guide. Yera's humility and grace serve as a sharp contrast to so many of the burned-out, self-inflated, hyper-competitive "bassholes" Burke meets in the United States. Yera calls the fish that will eventually shatter the 1932 record "the heart-breaker"-and whether it comes from a forbidden lake in Cuba or from a man-made reservoir stocked by a Franken-fish laboratory in Texas, whoever lands it will become a famous angler indeed.
—George Scott

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780452287150
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/28/2006
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
513,909
Product dimensions:
5.22(w) x 11.04(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“An artful narrative.”—The Wall Street Journal

“In Burke’s hands, the biggest fish stories become human stories, at once optimistic and tragic, about what keeps us casting into the water of a dream.”—Forbes

“A window to a very small universe where obsession, greed, and chicanery coexist with a strange nobility . . . Sowbelly is a fascinating examination of obsession even for readers who don’t fish.”—St. Petersburg Times

“Monte Burke is the Homer of America’s fishing world as he takes us on an epic journey filled with great drama, colorful characters, and elusive largemouth bass.” —Tom Brokaw

Meet the Author

A devoted angler and outdoorsman, Monte Burke has written many articles for Field & Stream and other periodicals.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >