World Record Smallmouth
On the 50th Anniversary of the David Hayes Smallmouth
This site is dedicated to returning a record to a true gentleman fisherman.
Breaking News: On December 12, 2006 the IGFA Reinstated the David Hayes Smallmouth
After an Article in Bassmaster Magazine took the IGFA
to task. The Article was by Ken Duke.
See Press Release Contents with Editorial


Picture by Ed Harp of
The David Hayes Smallmouth 50 Years Old.. 

  New Information: Thanks to an Article in Bass Master Magazine 2006, the David Hayes Smallmouth is again recognized as the World Record for Smallmouth Bass.
Below is an article written many years ago after the fish was removed, which shows some of the History of this Record and its surrounding controversy.

"World Record Smallmouth"
By: Jim Dicken

David Hayes, on a sunny afternoon in July of 1955, caught the biggest smallmouth bass to ever be brought in for weighing in the history of fishing records. While trolling a Model 300 Bomber along a stretch of
 Dale Hollow Lake he caught a smallmouth bass for the history books.  His catch obliterated a record that was in the high 8 pound range and  even today outweighs its nearest competitor by over a pound. All this while trolling for Walleye.

The International Game Fish Association has an 11 pound 15 ounce problem it wishes would go away. Approximately 6 years ago the Association, which keeps all of the records on fishing, discovered that
there existed an affidavit indicating that the World Record Smallmouth bass had been salted (weight added). The affidavit drawn up by one John Barlow indicated that Mr. Barlow had inserted weights in the fish  without the knowledge of David Hayes. The IGFA removed the record from the books. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife  and the Fishing Hall of Fame followed suit in short order removing the  fish from their records also.

Thanks to hard work and the determination to get the truth about the biggest smallmouth ever caught, Larry Self, a journalist from Tennessee,  and Ron Fox of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, were on the
verge of getting the record restored. So far the Freshwater Hall of Fame  has reinstated the record and Kentucky is considering. The State of Tennessee never wavered on the record. Upon finally getting a look at
the affidavit that Mr. Barlow had taken out, they discovered it was not signed by Mr. Barlow, and it was not signed or notarized by the clerk of  the court. Further investigation also brought up problems with the
affidavit. Ira Barlow, the brother of John Barlow (who since died), took  a lie detector test and passed, stating that his brother, John, was nowhere  near the Cedar Hill Dock when the fish was weighed and certified by   Tennessee authorities. He went on to say that the reason for the deposition was that Mr. Barlow had argued with the Cedar Hill Dock  management and was no longer welcome there.

Other problems with the salting have come up. Granville "Lightnin"
Madison was at Wisdom Dock on that fateful day. Turns out David Hayes  took the fish to Wisdom first as it was closest to the spot where he caught  the fish. The fish was weighed in front of Lightnin and Oral Burtram, a Kentucky Water Police Officer. In a statement made in front of witnesses,  Mr. Madison not only recalled the weight of the fish, but the correct approximate time of the weigh in at Wisdom Dock. I have a copy of the signed statement which I gave to the State of Kentucky.   Officer Burtram has died, but notes he left, according to sources, indicate that he witnessed the weigh in of an 11 pound 15 ounce smallmouth bass.

Thus the fish was weighed on an uncertified scale at Wisdom Dock before  the official weigh in at Cedar Hill (which had a certified scale). It weighed  the same as the official weight from the scale at Cedar Hill Dock. Sort of hard to happen if 3 pounds of weight was added. Not to mention that the weights were identical WITH added weight?

So far the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame has reinstated the David Hayes  smallmouth to its rightful place. The state of Tennessee never waivered in  its support of the record. It has remained the State Record.
 The IGFA has failed so far to do so, but they are still being informed of all of the evidence.

The IGFA notified Ron Fox in November that it is reopening the
investigation into the Smallmouth Bass Record. Watch these pages for a
further update of the David Hayes smallmouth controversy.

(IN 2003 the IGFA refused to accept the evidence presented to them and refused to recognize the Hayes fish as the record)

A funny thing happened on the way to the trash bin with this record.  Forty years ago Field and Stream, which originally kept the All Tackle  World Records information, heard about the Barlow affidavit in the 50ís and sent a reporter to investigate. He determined from interviews that the information included in the affidavit was false and that no weight  had been added to the fish. In the transfer of records and information to  the IGFA, the report was apparently lost....OOPS!

(Update: 2004 The IGFA says it will not reopen the case under any  circumstances. It does not recognize any fish that there is any controversy  over) To me this means that if we dont like a record all we have to do is say it
was salted... What is to stop someone from doing this to any record?
Jim Dicken
Author / Owner Fishing Guides Home Page

(Update: 2005 After an Article in Bassmaster Magazine took the IGFA to task. The Article was by Ken Duke of Bassmasters Magazine.
On December 12, 2005 The IGFA Reinstated the David Hayes Smallmouth as the All Tackle World Record.

Some of the original confusion was created by this Article by Don Jordan
  Click Here to Read the article which incorrectly states that the Barlow Affidavit was signed by a judge. I have seen original copies of the affidavit. It was not signed by either a judge or the clerk of the court or by John Barlow. It was a typed 
affidavit with NO SIGNATURES.

Other evidence of Fraud in the Barlow Affidavit...
Employees of Center Hill Dock recall that the fish was brought immediately to the scales. Once weighed it was placed in a freezer on the dock. An employee, interviewed by Ron Fox of TWRA stated that he slept on the freezer and never left it  until the fish was weighed. There was at no time an opportunity to "salt" the fish..

Even worse is the ridicule I have encountered towards David Hayes and his record. Many people are under the impression that Mr. Hayes had something to do with the addition of the weight. In the affidavit of Mr. Barlow, it clearly states that the weight was added as a "JOKE" and without the knowledge of Mr. Hayes. Worse yet.. no weight was found in the fish by the taxidermist who did the Taxidermy on the Hayes Smallmouth. Mr. Barlow at no time explains how he removed the weight without the knowledge of the parties concerned in the unsigned Affidavit. Experts on Photo Analysis of fish and records have clearly stated that the fish weighed AT LEAST 10 pounds and most likely weighed more... If weight had been added the fish would have weighed over 13 pounds!!!!! 

If you believe like I do that David Hayes Record was unjustly removed, please contact the IGFA and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
Ask them to recognize the TRUE World Record Smallmouth.

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Pictures of David Hayes
Late 2004 Click on Pic 
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Photos By Ed Harp of 
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