When it comes to fish tales, Jason Schall has a whopper to tell. And he has pictures to back it up.
Schall capped an incredible week of fishing Saturday when he caught a red drum (redfish) from the living room of his Daniel Island home while watching the Clemson football game with a friend.
He released the fish, something he does with all of his catches, but not before getting a few photos.
His fishing fantasy began a week earlier when the 38-year-old retired financial planner caught the first- and second-place redfish (38.5 and 36.5 inches, respectively) during the Hooked On Life catch-and-release tournament in Charleston.
Then, Schall caught a 45.5-inch red drum at Kiawah Island on Tuesday that missed a world record (International Game Fish Association’s all-tackle length record) by 1.5 inches.
On Wednesday, Schall received a letter from the IGFA that two striped bass and one largemouth bass he caught during a trip to Las Vegas had been accepted as Nevada state records.
Just for good measure, he caught several small tarpon and jack crevalles while fishing from shore later in the week. But the living room redfish was the icing on the cake.
“My life’s work is now done,” Schall said, laughing about his living room catch. “I ran a line with bait from the living room out a crack in the door, through the yard and into the lake behind my house. I felt a bite while sitting on the couch watching football, set the hook and caught the fish.”
Jason Bennett, Schall’s friend and fishing buddy, was with him Saturday.
“He was teasing about wanting to catch a fish from the couch and I said, ‘Go ahead and do it,’ ” Bennett said. “He wasn’t on the couch three minutes and all of a sudden I saw the line go tight. He yanked on it and set the hook. That was an amazing thing.”
A bachelor, Schall sold his business two years ago and began to catch up on his fishing. While most of his fishing is done from shore, Schall does have a kayak rigged for fishing. Schall grew up in Summerville where he learned to freshwater fish on the Ashley River. His family had a home on Kiawah Island, giving him a place to fish for saltwater species.
A life member of IGFA, Schall has been on the Charleston Trident Fishing Tournament board since 1996. Shortly before joining the Trident Tournament (a yearly event that recognizes outstanding fresh and saltwater catches in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties), Schall won the event’s ecology award for most fish released. He also was named both freshwater and saltwater inshore angler of the year.
“Whenever I go on vacation or a business trip, I try to fish,” Schall said, explaining his record catches from Nevada’s Lake Mead. “Most people who go to Las Vegas are running around in the casinos or up and down the Strip. I looked up where the nearest fishing was, rented a car and drove out there and rented a boat. I brought the tackle I use around here.”
He came close to setting a similar record in New Hampshire for smallmouth bass but the line he was using tested too strong.
“I’ve never met anybody in my life who loves to fish, and loves to help others learn about fishing, as much as Jason,” Bennett said. The two met through Seacoast Church and have become fast friends who enjoy fishing, church and practical jokes, not necessarily in that order.
Schall said he hopes his fishing fortunes continue, and somewhere in the Lowcountry he’ll have a line in the water this week.