Even though most of us generally don’t think of our hometown as being a world-famous location, Smith Mountain Lake is famous for a variety of records set on its shores (or in its waters). All world records are human interest stories in one way or another…and some of these may surprise you as they did us.
In 2012 Tom Jones spent two weeks paddling the outskirts of Smith Mountain Lake to set a new freshwater distance world record for stand-up. He paddled 520 miles (averaging 20 miles a day) in the shortest time ever!! Why did he strive for this kind of recognition? Mr. Jones is dedicated to helping Children and has worked with Children’s foundations in the past after a childhood spent in an abusive foster home. He created the Tom Jones Foundation, with hopes of aiding the next generation and helping to prevent child abuse! This marked his third world record.
Smith Mountain Lake is well known to fishermen all over the US for its striped bass fishing. The current state record for the fish is 53 lbs. 7 oz. caught in 2000 from below the SML dam in Leesville Lake. However, most prior striper record makers were all from Smith Mountain Lake; the last in 1999 weighed in at 49 lbs. 4 oz. Although it is famous for its striped bass, SML also contains remarkable largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, muskie, crappie, walleye, catfish, and more.
In just three years, the Eagles Franklin County High School marksmanship team in Franklin County, Va. went from having no marksmanship team at all to being champions. In Feb. 2013 the Franklin County High School Air Force Junior ROTC won the national competition in marksmanship. Later this year, they’ll compete against the Army, Marines, and Navy teams across the country and have a chance to do what no Air Force team has ever done; be the best out of all the service branches.
The record for the highest temperature at SML was 102 degrees in July 1988…and the record for the coldest temperature was -11 degrees in January 1985.