George was a record-chaser in many ways. You could tell it motivated him. He took plenty of opportunities during boat rides or conversation under the tarp at dinnertime talking about the various records he’d caught along with dissecting the IGFA procedures for documenting his potential records — a total 39 during his lifetime.
You can look up the guidelines for yourself, but make no mistake if you’re going to catch an IGFA line-class record then you’ll need to embark on your fishing excursions well prepared. Going through the rigmarole of submitting your fly still attached to the tippet/leader along with a certified weight seems like it’s not something the typical weekend warrior would be ready to do in case a +15 lb bass happened to take a fly.
George was up for it. He had the time and resources to be up for it.
Recently I was able to complete what the IGFA considers to be a Bass Grand Slam. I happened to take pictures that day of the fish I was catching, and thanks to my copy of Fishes of Alabama, an exhaustive collection of every species of fish found in the state, I was able to verify that I had indeed caught a Largemouth, Hybrid Striped Bass, and Landlocked Striped bass. I was particularly motivated to submit my catches because the IGFA does differentiate slams caught on conventional tackle versus fly tackle.
There are several people I interact with on Twitter that I know for certain usually catch a Bass Grand Slam most days before breakfast on conventional tackle. I certainly appreciate the recognition; however, I don’t believe that it means much beyond the fact that I thought to submit it, and there aren’t many people out there actively bass fishing with a fly rod.
The idea of chasing records is something that still doesn’t appeal to me. I might change my mind if I ever find myself in the position to fish whenever I’d like. Maybe I don’t have that much confidence in myself, or maybe I don’t feel like I have anything to prove. In a social media saturated world it’s hard not to want to find reasons to feel validated in what you’re doing, but I still would like to believe that I’d prefer to fish without that type of pressure. It’s more enjoyable that way.