Largemouth bass can be world-record sized without being certified as world records by the I.G.F.A. I appreciate the huge bass caught by Mac Weakley, Paul Duclos, and others. I respect their catches and admire that they released the fish back unharmed. They are great sportsmen.
Are these anglers who released the fish without proper documentation and certification inferior to those who certified their fish with the IGFA? No, not really. There is so much luck and circumstance in bass fishing. A fisherman really has to go out there prepared and with the intent to catch a record in order to be ready to certify it properly. If you are serious about certifying a world-record bass, join IGFA, get an IGFA-certified scale, and always bring a witness and various cameras. That way, you can certify a world-record catch.
Was the behemouth bass discussed in American BeheMouth a certified world record bass? No. If someone else caught this fish again, could they certify it with the IGFA and calim it as a certified world-record bass? Based on what I know about IGFA, I think the answer is "yes." Will I catch another world-record-sized bass from the "Lake of Dreams" and try to certify it with IGFA? No, I don't think so. That would be like Mark McGwire leaving coaching to come back to playing professional baseball in order to break the career home run record, building off of his past homeruns count when he was using performance-enhancing drugs.