CORTEZ – A Cortez angler has just earned two world records for trout she caught at Groundhog Reservoir last summer.
Kelly Jo Hall, who works with Intermountain Wall Systems, Inc., has been fishing since she was 5 or 6. But this past year marked a new angling landmark for her, when the International Game Fish Association awarded her with world records for the heaviest catches in two separate line classes.
“I’m just excited to break my own records, and maybe get some bigger ones,” said the 52-year-old.
Both rainbow trouts were caught in July at Groundhog Reservoir, just north alongside Flattop Mountain, one in the 2-pound line class and the other in the 4-pound line class. The 2-pound line class category fish weighed in at 1 pound, 12 ounces, and the four-pound record trout was a whopping 4 pounds, 5 ounces.
Hall and her partner, Joseph Crosby, are avid anglers. (Their first 10 official dates were all fishing outings.) They travel to Mexico once a year to catch big fish like marlins, but more regularly rove around the local spots, fishing at Summit, Groundhog and Narraguinnep reservoirs.
“I didn’t know there was such a variety,” Hall said.
What’s challenging about these specific line class contests is how easily the thin lines break, Hall said. For each one, she had to catch a fish that was at minimum half the weight of the line – so at least a 1-pounder for the 2-pound line class, and a 2-pound catch for the fish to count in the 4-pound line class category.
“To me that was the epitome of the fishing sport,” Crosby said. “To do it on the lightest line.”
The pair had been going for world records, Crosby said, especially since IGFA recently created a women’s category for freshwater fishing records. A lot of women’s records are currently open, Hall said, especially since many people don’t want to jump through the hoops required by the association for the records to count, like sending in a witness statement and the scale used to measure the fish.
On both occasions, they weighed and measured the trout immediately, as per regulations, with Bonnie Candelaria, owner of Groundhog Lake RV Park and Campgrounds, serving as a witness.
She caught the trout that took the 4-pound line class category on July 4, knocking off a woman from New Zealand who previously held that record. The other fish, caught July 21, took a vacant record spot.
Usually, Hall and Crosby release the fish they catch, but these cases were different. Candelaria took the smaller trout to hang up, while the 4-pounder went to a friend.