Chayson Richard knew deer season was right around the corner, so the avid bass angler wanted to get in one more Toledo Bend trip before committing to his deer stand this fall. 

So he looked at the weather and the calendar and strategically picked last Friday, Oct. 21 — the day before Louisiana’s first real cool front arrived — to head to the Bend with fishing partner Chris Champagne.

“We were on the water at 12:30 p.m. after launching from Fin & Feather Resort,” he said.

The angler knew there were a couple of prime locations with submerged vegetation near Hurricane Creek, so they motored there first.

“There were some patches of hydrilla in 3 feet of water, and we began working topwaters,” he said.

Richard was dog-walking a Yellow Magic topwater lure attached to 15-pound Berkley Big Game mono spooled to an Abu Garcia Revo on a 6-foot, 6-inch Duckett Micro Magic rod.

“In the first area we chose, we managed to catch five keepers up to 3 pounds,” he said. “Then the fishing slacked up and we moved to another spot nearby.”

Around mid-afternoon, Richard was popping his lure when a fish inhaled it with just a slurp — barely disturbing the surface of the water.

“I could tell it was a good fish as it dove and went into the hydrilla,” he said. “The fish made three more dives pulling a good bit of drag.”

Feeling the weight and thrust of the big bass, Richard decided to loosen his drag and let some line out to tire the fish before working it to the boat.

“She came up shallow and we could see her in the slightly stained water,” Richard said. “She was clearly a huge bass and I told Chris to ready the net.”

On the very first attempt, Champagne was successful in netting the lunker aboard, and after an onboard celebration, he weighed the fish on a digital handheld scale.

The lunker checked in at 11.2 pounds — Richard’s largest bass ever.

“There was a boat nearby and the anglers heard us,” he said. “So I picked up the fish for some photos and they cheered for us.”

On certified scales at Fin & Feather Resort, Richard’s bass weighed 11.29 pounds, and upon closer inspection, the anglers noted the fish had been previously tagged. 

Records from the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program indicated the big bass had initially been caught March 18 near the Indian Mounds by angler Brenen Hebert of Gonzales  —when it weighed 11.27 pounds. 

The fish was once again returned to Toledo Bend waters, and is lunker No. 20 for the 2016-17 TBLBP season.

Richard will receive a free replica of the fish next May courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association.