Cortez’s superstar of shore fishing, Kelly Jo Hall, has reeled in two more world records, bringing her total to nine.
Hall competes with women worldwide for fishing records certified by the International Game and Fish Association.
Her latest world record, a 5 pound, 4 ounce smallmouth bass in the 4-pound line class, was caught at Puett Reservoir on May 16.
A 2 pound, 6 ounce striped bass caught at Lake Powell on April 23, was approved as the female world record for the 2-pound line class.
Hall now holds nine world records in women’s freshwater fishing under the IGFA. More records are pending. She practices catch and release.
The smallmouth bass is her favorite catch, she said in an interview Wednesday.
“It was bigger than I thought, a diamond of a fish. I’m real proud to get the world record on it, especially since it was from a local lake,” she said. “I’ve got a 350-pound marlin, but that smallmouth bass from Puett is my favorite.”
She saw its shadow come out from behind a rock, and quickly switched lures to a plastic worm. The female fish hit and made a couple of runs before being reeled in, weighed, measured, photographed and released.
Hall and her boyfriend, Joe Crosby, specialize in shore fishing, and go out about 25 times per year, including to nearby states. She rigs up several poles at time, so if a lure fails or the line breaks, she can quickly cast out another one.
“The more time your lure is in the water, the better your chances,” she said.
Using fresh lines is important, because they become brittle when dried out.
Other skills are learning fish habits, lure selection, reading the water and studying lake topography to find the deep areas where fish are more likely to be.
Fish behavior is part of the challenge and fun of fishing, Hall said, like whether they are a bottom feeder or top feeder, and what their preferred prey are.
She keeps track of what her competitors in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia are catching.
One of her competitors is Meredith McCord, a professional angler who has been featured on fishing shows. Hall said she has swapped records with fellow angler Lauren Dunn.
Hall’s next goal is “to diversify and go for some records in the saltwater categories.” The couple travels to Mexico for fishing trips every other year.
“Fishing is our passion. We love it,” Hall said.