The 22-pound, four-ounce largemouth bass landed in 1932 by George Perry in Montgomery Lake, Ga., has long been fishing's great white whale, the storied record chased by bass anglers. Now, according to the March-April issue of Sporting Classics, Perry's fish appears at last to have been surpassed. The six-page story, complete with a photo of a truly monstrous bass, recounts how a peg-legged, 68-year-old South Carolinian named Roy Greer walked into the magazine's offices last month with a largemouth that when slapped on the scales at the local Piggly Wiggly weighed 22 pounds, eight ounces. Sporting Classics reports that record certification is under way at the International Game Fish Association in Florida.
But before readers go for this story hook, line and sinker, they may want to take a closer look, for there's clearly something fishy here. Consider that the issue date of the magazine is March-April and that according to the article Greer's homemade lure has been copied by a manufacturer that gave it the catalog number 4197 (4/1/97?) and that Greer reportedly worked for a railroad called the Macon B&S (try just plain B.S.). It turns out that this fish story is an elaborate April Fool's hoax dreamed up by Sporting Classics editor Chuck Wechsler. "I tried to poke fun at Americans for their preoccupation with bigger is better," says Wechsler. "Everybody is just waiting for this old record to fall."
Perry's record remains safe. Meanwhile, however, at a tournament in Corsicana, Texas, on March 18, Mark Menendez of Paducah, Ky., caught the biggest bass ever landed in 30 years of BASSMaster events—a 13-pound, nine-ounce largemouth. No foolin'.
A Classic Ace
Visitors to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art have been emerging from a blockbuster show of paintings by Tiepolo marveling at the 18th-century Venetian master's vast canvases filled with graceful mythological scenes. A few have also been wondering, What's up with the tennis racket?
The Death of Hyacinth, a 9½-by-7½-foot canvas painted circa 1752, is based on an episode from Ovid's Metamorphoses in which Apollo and his lover, the Spartan prince Hyacinth, engage in a discus-throwing contest. Apollo's toss accidentally strikes Hyacinth, mortally wounding him. The scene had been depicted by Cellini and Rubens, but Tiepolo's version is, in the words of the Met's catalog, "singular, for it transforms Ovid's discus contest into a modern game of tennis." Sure enough, there in the foreground sit a racket and three balls. It seems that Tiepolo based his work not on Ovid's original but on a 1561 translation that substituted jeu de paume—the forerunner of tennis and a favorite among Renaissance nobles—for the more classic discus.
Well, that may satisfy the art historians, but tennis buffs have one more question: How did Apollo develop that killer serve?