Rickman, TN man Todd Beaty caught a largemouth bass last Saturday from the Chickamauga Lake that weighed a whopping 14.53 lb. That’s just 11 ounces shy of the current state record largemouth caught by Gabe Keen in February of 2015. Beaty, a preacher, sees the momentous catch as an opportunity to have a new avenue to spread the gospel to others.

Hardcore bass anglers know that cold weather fishing is a prime time to hook a trophy. Beaty, 33, lives in Rickman, Tenn., north of Cookeville.

Beaty told News Channel 9, “I caught the big one about 10:30. We were fishing a main channel point. The boat was sitting in fifteen to seventeen feet of water. I was throwing a [Tennessee] rig up on the point. She hit in about five or six feet of water.”

Beaty said he was using a Duckett rod and 20-pound test P-Line casting a Yum Flash Mob Junior lure rigged with Reaction Innovation Swim Baits.

“When the fish hit it just stopped the bait and then a few seconds after I started reeling it came up on top and I knew it was a good one,” said Beaty. “I didn’t know it was a 14-pounder but I knew it was a double-digit fish.”

Beaty said he only had to fight the big bass about 20 seconds before his fishing partner was able to slide the net underneath it.

“We were just swept away – more shocked than anything,” said Beaty. “We just sat in the boat and stared at it for five minutes. We really didn’t know how big it was. We didn’t know what a [14 pound] bass looks like. I don’t guess many people do.”

Beaty has taken his monster bass to be taxidermed.

Beaty works in electrical maintenance by trade, but he is also a preacher. He believes his good fortune might have greater meaning beyond a fishing milestone.

“I’m just feeling that might be why God allowed me to catch it,” he said. “He wanted to give me another platform to talk to people about Him.”

Read Richard Simms’ full story on News Channel 9.