Charlotte, N.C. All Terry Dodson knew was that he had something big when the fish exploded out of Lake Jocassee in northwestern South Carolina.
"She jumped four feet out of the water almost straight up," said Dodson.
As friend Dale Whitmire netted the lunker, Dodson recalled Whitmire's words: "My God, what a fish!"
"I said, 'What is it?"'
"It" was a 9-pound, 7-ounce smallmouth bass, a scaly football that became the record smallmouth for South Carolina.
Caught May 3, the smallmouth was the seventh record broken in the Carolinas this year. Five came from S.C. waters.
The number is unusually high for such a short period. On average, both states may get a total of two or three record-breakers a year.
The five S.C. catches appear to be more of a fluke, says Ross Self, of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.
A month before Dodson caught his smallmouth, another Lake Jocassee angler pulled in a record redeye bass weighing 5 pounds, 2.5 ounces.
Dodson, 40, said he's fished Jocassee for smallmouth and largemouth bass for 23 years.
He and Whitmire were fishing about 8:45 p.m. when the smallmouth struck. Dodson was retrieving a crankbait (he declines to say what kind) on a 12-pound test line.
The soon-to-be-mounted smallmouth measures 2412 inches long and 1912 inches around.