Just days after Poteau angler Benny Williams Jr. landed a state record largemouth bass from Cedar Lake in southeast Oklahoma, an angler in the opposite southern corner of the state has reeled in a state record smallmouth bass.
Ryan Wasser of Pocasset was fishing March 31 at Lake Lawtonka in preparation for an upcoming local tournament when he hooked a fish that he knew was special.
"The fish came to the top where I could see it, and I knew that I had a potential record-type smallmouth on," he said.
And a record smallmouth it was. At 8 pounds, 7 ounces 7, the fish outweighs the previous record smallmouth by four ounces.
Wasser caught the bass on a shakyhead lure from Flatlands Custom Tackle rigged with a finesse worm and 10-pound test line. He was using a Shimano reel on an Abu Garcia rod. The fish measured 23 1/8 inches in length and 18 inches in girth.
"I was fishing in less than five feet of water when the bass bit," Wasser said.
He said the drag on his reel was too loose at first and that he had to slowly adjust it to gain on the fish.
Wasser was fishing with his mother and his 6-year-old son when the fish hit.
According to Gene Gilliland, assistant chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Department, Lake Lawtonka was one of the first lakes in the state to be stocked with "Tennessee strain" smallmouth bass, which grow larger and are seemingly more adaptable to large lake environments than the state's native strain of smallmouth bass that inhabit the many Ozark and Ouachita streams and rivers of eastern Oklahoma.