Monday morning, 8-year-old Olivia Vacula, of Belton, was fishing with her father on Stillhouse Hollow Lake with area guide Bob Maindelle.
“For weeks, Olivia had been saying to me, ‘Dad, let’s go fishing,’ she was pretty persistent,” said Benjamin Vacula, 36. “And then on Monday morning on the boat, all of a sudden, my eyes and Bob’s got very big.”
It was around 10 a.m. when Olivia felt a heavy pull.
“I was wondering what was on the line because it felt like it was a very heavy fish,” she said. “I was reeling for over five minutes. It jumped out of the water a little bit and everyone was surprised to see how big it was. It was my first-ever catfish.”
“Olivia reeled it in from start-to-finish,” Benjamin said. “She’s real sporty.”
“My hands were hurting because that fish was so big,” Olivia said.
More than just “big,” Olivia had caught an 8¼-pound yellow catfish setting a new all-time Junior Angler record for Stillhouse Hollow Lake.
“I was really surprised when my dad told me about the record,” Olivia said. “I was really surprised that nobody else had caught anything like that. It was pretty cool.”
Olivia is a third-grader at Lakewood Elementary School.
“I play soccer and swim but fishing is my favorite sport,” she said. “When it gets a little warmer, we’ll go back out there and fish some more.
“I’d like to catch another big one like that.”