Ragley’s Jeff Broussard couldn’t sleep in the early-morning hours of Jan. 11, so he ventured into his workshop and started piddling with his boat around 2 a.m.

A couple of hours later — with an assist from a caffeine boost — he decided to take a fishing trip.

“At 4, I decided on a cup of coffee,” the 40-year-old angler said. “Then I found myself hooking up the boat to head over to Toledo Bend.”

Broussard launched his boat later that morning at Fin & Feather Resort and began fishing in the Housen area.

“I was fishing a spot where I caught good numbers of keepers before – not far from Fin & Feather,” he said.

Broussard was slowly working a Carolina-rigged Zoom 10-inch California 420 worm over hydrilla on the shallow side of a ledge. The C-rig was tied to 14-pound Berkley Trilene XL spooled to a Shimano Curado on a Shimano Denali rod.

After catching a few small bass, Broussard made a long cast on the grassy shelf a few minutes before 9:30.

“I was barely moving the bait when I felt something different,” he said. “I wasn’t sure about it, so I went ahead and set the hook.”

The fight was on, and Broussard initially suspected a solid 4- or 5-pounder.

“I was able to reel her in close for a better look and then thought possibly 8 pounds,” he said. “I figured I could forget the net and lip her in.”

But the fish came up again and the angler immediately changed his weight estimate.

“When she was up, I knew she was over 10 pounds,” he said. “She made a dive under the boat steadily pulling drag.”

Broussard fretted over the possibility that either his rod or line would break. He had his rod well into the water straight down the boat’s side with waves lapping near his reel.

“I kept playing her and eventually worked the fish back,” he said. “I had a hard time but I was able to get to the net and brought her aboard.”

After unhooking the largest bass of his life and placing it in the livewell, Broussard made the decision to immediately motor back to Fin & Feather for a certified weight.

The lunker tipped the scales at 10.77 pounds, and the fish was tagged and later released alive back into Toledo Bend’s waters.

Broussard’s bass is lunker No. 27 entered into the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program for the 2016-17 season. 

Since Broussard’s double-digit bass was tagged and released alive, he will receive a free replica courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association in May.