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Jeff Lampe
Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors


A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Kuta’s “record” smallmouth revisited

June 05, 2008 at 05:25 AM

I got an interesting e-mail some time ago from David Mohler, a Glen Ellyn native who was commenting on that big smallmouth caught last fall on the DuPage River by John Kuta. Here’s the text of his interesting e-mail.

“I read your article (10/10/07) about the trophy smallmouth caught by John Kuta recently (pictured at right). Illinois OutdoorsI grew up in Glen Ellyn, IL. and have fished the DuPage river. I know that stretch of river and I share your skepticism about a 26-inch smallmouth inhabiting it. My interest goes further since I hold both the 14-pound line class, catch and release, world record for smallmouth bass and I am in a tie for the all tackle, catch and release, world record smallmouth both officially certified by the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

Since my wife and I have many smallmouth over 20 inches, including 23-inch and 24-inch monsters, I consider myself to be fairly good at judging smallmouth size. Using the most accurate smallmouth bass weight calculator that I have ever seen for a Midwest smallie, a 26-inch fall smallmouth of even modest girth for a fish of that length (say 17 inches) would weigh approximately 9.4 pounds, click here.

Further, compare a fish caught by Howard Pardee in California that was 24 inches in length, 18 inches girth and weighed on a certified scale at 9.83 pounds to the Kuta fish. If one scales off of Howard’s index finger, which is almost always in the same plane as the fish, it comes out very close to 24 inches and 18 inches as certified. 

I have photos of my wife’s 23-inch, 7.3-pound smallie and my 24-inch, 8.08-pound smallie and using the same scaling method they also come out within a small error of 23 inches and 24 inches respectively. All three fish, Howard and ours, were witnessed by an unrelated third party, were measured on camera, and were officially certified accordingly.

If one assumes that Kuta is about 5’ 9” (average for U.S. males) and has an index finger that when flexed is close to 1 inch in width (also average for U.S. males), then the Kuta fish scales out at between 21 inches and 22 inches. A large fish to be sure, but nowhere close to 26 inches. In fall, a 22-inch bass could easily weigh the 6 pounds, 10 ounces claimed. If one also uses the index finger scaling method on the Kuta photo, the girth comes out to approximately 15.5 inches. What is interesting is if one enters 22 inches and 15.5 inches into the Ontario Angler calculator, it yields 6.60 pounds…

Based on all of this, it is clear that the Kuta fish while large and certainly a trophy, is not 26 inches in length. I also noticed that the Kuta fish has not been certified by National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in their most recent issue. I hope that you find this information interesting.”



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