TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Lea Anne Powell went out on a guided fishing trip where she might’ve landed the world record for a largemouth bass in her line class.
Powell told KETK News that her fishing journey began after her parents passed away in 2015. She shared that her parents loved to fish and she found peace after their passing by continuing that tradition and diving into that world herself.
“I lost both of my parents in 2015 and I actually found peace within fishing. A friend of mine kept asking me to come fish and I had a natural knack for it and it just stuck,” said Powell.
Since then, Powell has been heavily involved in the tournament trails for the past 5 years but nothing prepared her for the fishing trip she took towards the end of February.
Powell said that her friend Dalton Smith, owner of Dalton Smith Guide Service and fishing guide at O.H. Ivie Lake near San Angelo, had a few days off and invited her out to go fishing. The evening of Feb. 27, the first day of their trip, Smith was using a tool called Livescope that serves as an underwater sonogram to help anglers see the fish and tell what’s big and what isn’t.
“They’re doing all this research and you can see the fish. You can tell what’s big and you can tell what’s small and we got into this area where [Smith] was seeing a bunch of big fish,” said Powell. “I casted out and I caught a 10.58 pound [fish].”
Powell said at the time that was her personal record for a fish, but then came the next morning.
The following morning, they went back out and Smith was telling her to cast out in the same area as him. At this point, Powell said she was still trying to figure out how to use the Livescope to locate the bigger fish.
“So he casted out about 50 feet from the boat and about 55 feet slightly to the left of where he was,” Powell said. “I was trying to learn this whole Livescope sonogram and I was like okay I think I have a follower.”
Smith didn’t believe her at first, but once she hooked the fish, they both realized they had a battle ahead of them to reel it in.
“Once I set the hook he was like, ‘oh my God, you caught a giant’. But what was crazy is we were both freaking out because it was hooked 45 feet from the boat and 15 feet down on 10-pound line with a spinning rod,” said Powell. “Which if anybody knows fishing at all, that’s a very hectic situation and anytime I would get her close to the boat, she would start taking off and kept nosing down so I was having to adjust the drag when she would take off running.”
Once the fish was in their net, they knew they had to quickly take it in to get weighed at the Elm Creek RV Park and Gas Station down the street from the lake where they have an International Game Fish Association (IGFA) certified scale.
“She was 12 pounds 3 ounces, the biggest fish ever! Before I went to O.H. Ivie with Dalton, I literally had only caught a 7 pound 8 ounce largemouth. And I was like, cool, if I get an 8 pounder I’m happy.” said Powell. “But I broke my personal best twice in under 17 hours.”
Powell shared that the IGFA has different line classes that include 4, 8, 12 and 16-pound line classes. Powell’s fish was caught on a 10-pound Seaguar Red Label line but Powell shared, “the way that line actually tests, it actually tests up to 12 pounds.”
She said that her application is still pending and shared what all goes into the judging of a fish for a record.
“It is still pending. You have to have witnesses, you have to have proof of what it was caught on, rod and reel make and then you also have to submit a line sample into IGFA,” Powell said. “Once it goes in to the IGFA they will actually go through and test the line and make sure it was legitimately up to 12 pounds and then it will go through a panel internationally and then once that’s done, I’ll know.”
Powell shared that she has been working closely with them and just last week they tested the line so she is still waiting anxiously on an official answer.
“I’ve been working with them really closely because I’m really anxious I’m like ‘I hope I get it’. So, fingers crossed. It is still pending but from what I was told it has been a very long time since they’ve had a nice fish like that go across their desk.”
The record that Powell said her fish is going for is “a female record for a 12 pound line class for largemouth [bass].”
Powell wanted to share some words to lady anglers out there that might feel like they don’t fit the mold of a traditional angler.
“I’ve had so much discouragement being a lady angler and I don’t let that stop me. For every no I’m getting told and every word of discouragement, it pushes me and drives me to go harder and go faster and deeper into my tournaments. You can’t make a record, you can’t catch a fish unless you have a line in the water and do what you can to not let any negativity get you down. Turn those negatives into positives and let them motivate you to get out there and fish and just catch ’em up!”
To keep up with Powell on all of her fishing adventures and check out other fish that she has already caught you can find her socials below: