When Mark Powell decided to go fishing on Chickamauga Lake at 4 a.m. on Monday, May 5, he never expected to hook the biggest largemouth bass ever caught there. But that’s exactly what happened! Powell reeled in this lunker weighing in at 13 pounds, 13 ounces, surpassing the previous record by a narrow 4 ounces and only 1 pound shy of the standing Tennessee state record. Powell’s record bass measured 27.25 inches long with a 21-inch girth.The bass was Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency certified before being released.
Dayton, Tenn., is famously known for the “Scopes Monkey Trial” of 1925, but for bass anglers like Powell, Chickamauga is the historic site of the 1986 Bassmaster Classic won by Charlie Reed. Back then, the lake was known for its small, keeper fish, but now it has matured into one of the hottest big-bass fisheries in the country, according to Bassmaster Magazine’s “100 Best Bass Lakes of 2014” ranking Chickamauga at No. 7.
“There are lots of teeners just waiting to be caught by anyone willing to cast umbrella rigs to deep structure,” said James Hall, editor of Bassmaster Magazine in this month’s issue. In 2013, a 44-pound limit was weighed in at a tournament, and another 49-pound limit registered in February, although it wasn’t official.
Bassmaster’s BASSfest will bring Elite Series anglers to Dayton June 11-15 for a tournament and bass fishing festival attracting fans from all over. Along with the Elite Series pros, the top 20 anglers from each of the three Bassmaster Open tours will be invited to compete against the likes of Kevin VanDam, Edwin Evers and Aaron Martens. Get more BASSfest details here.