The folder in the IGFA’s Record Department designated Mabry Harper’s world record walleye is chock-full of articles and letters related to the controversy that has followed this catch over the past half century. It has been more than 50 years since Harper pulled his 11.34 kg (25 pound) walleye from Old Hickory Lake, near his home in Tennessee on the morning of August 2, 1960.
Harper was an avid angler and had caught many large walleye, and catfish, in his angling career. Luckily, Harper’s wife (seen in the photo) realized the significance of the catch and took it to be officially weighed-in at the Second Creek Resort, before Harper cleaned the fish for dinner (which he later did). Harper’s fish was submitted for record consideration, and was quickly approved by Field & Stream as the new world record walleye. But as time progressed, questions began swirling about the legitimacy of this record claim — particularly the reported girth measurement of 29 inches.
Numerous organizations and individuals investigated Harper’s catch, hypothesizing that the fish couldn’t possibly be the reported weight due to size of Harper’s hand, in relations to the size of the fish. In 1996, the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame decided to remove Harper’s catch from the record books, due to “persistent rumors” they had received.
However, the IGFA, who had inherited all original documentation and correspondence from Field & Stream in the 1970’s, still recognizes Harper’s walleye as the heaviest ever caught on a rod and reel. -------------------------------------------🇺🇸please follow 🇺🇸
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