After months of waiting, Lea Anne Powell learned Friday that the lunker largemouth she caught in February was officially accepted as a new women’s line-class world record by the International Game Fish Association. This makes her roughly 12-pound fish the heaviest largemouth bass ever caught by a woman on 12-pound test.
“I submitted everything in March, and it was official on June 23,” Powell told KETK News earlier this week. “I had been driving them insane by calling. I’ve been very anxious you know, I wanted it.”
Powell’s journey into the record book began on February 28, when she went out on O.H. Ivie Lake with Dalton Smith, a close friend and fishing guide. It was their third day in a row fishing the sprawling reservoir, which has been on fire so far this year. (At least 10 other bass over 12 pounds were caught from O.H. Ivie during February alone.) The duo was using Smith’s Livescope to pinpoint trophy fish, and at one point that morning, Powell watched the screen as a giant largemouth homed in on her soft plastic lure.
“Once I set the hook he was like, ‘Oh my God, you caught a giant,’” she said. “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. Which, if anybody knows fishing at all, that’s a very hectic situation.”
After a stressful 10-minute battle, they boated the bucket mouth, put it in Smith’s live well, and ran to a nearby RV park where they found a certified scale. They recorded an official weight of 12 pounds, 3 ounces, and then released the fish back into the lake. For Powell, who also tournament fishes, it was easily the biggest bass she’s ever caught.
It wasn’t until the following month that she learned her personal-best largemouth was also a world-record contender. Heeding the advice of a friend, Powell submitted all the required information, including witness statements, photographs, measurements, and a line sample. This last detail turned out to be especially important, as she explained that the 10-pound Seaguar Red Label line she used “actually tested up to 12 pounds” when examined by the IGFA.
Curiously, the IGFA record book lists the official weight of Powell’s bass as 12 pounds, 0 ounces, instead of 12 pounds, 3 ounces. Either way, it’s more than enough to replace the previous women’s line-class world record: a 9-pound, 1-ounce largemouth caught in Mexico in 2021.