David Katchur has been fishing Toledo Bend for a long time, and was back again last Saturday fishing a Lake Charles Hawg Hunters club tournament.
“I was fishing there way back when the leaves were still on the trees after it was flooded,” the 62-year-old angler said.
Katchur and fishing partner Stewart Hunt departed Big Bass Marina early in the morning and motored over to the Six Mile area.
“We made it to a spot where my partner caught a keeper after three casts with a crankbait,” said Katchur, of Lake Charles.
The anglers were positioned in 12 feet of water casting to 5-foot shallows.
Katchur had a Carolina rig tied on with a Zoom watermelon fluke that he was working slowly. He was using a 15-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader with 20-pound fluorocarbon spooled to a Shimano Curado reel on a 7-foot 6-inch Shimano Crucial rod.
At 7 a.m., Katchur’s C-rig stopped abruptly during only his eighth cast of the morning.
“I never felt her touch it,” he said. “I held the rod and then it started pulling back. That’s when I set the hook.”
The fish hit at the very end of Katchur’s cast, and Hunt initially estimated the bass at about 5 ½ pounds.
But once Katchur got a feel for the fish, he figured otherwise.
“As he got the net, I had to walk to the right side of the boat as the fish was pulling quite a bit of drag and heading deep,” Katchur said. “I told him, ‘This one’s bigger than we think.’”
Katchur gingerly worked the fish to the boat, and on their handheld digital scale, it was pegged at 10.12 pounds.
“I put her in the livewell and placed some Catch and Release into the aerated water,” he said. “I also removed the livewell divider wall to give her plenty of room.”
The anglers kept fishing to add more pounds to their bag, and with the cool weather, the big bass stayed healthy and the pair added three more bass for a total of 16.53 pounds at the tournament scales.
After the tournament weigh-in at Big Bass Marina, Katchur drove over to Buckeye Landing, which is an official weigh station for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.
On their certified scales, Katchur’s bass officially weighed 10.57 pounds and was later released healthy back into Toledo Bend waters.
It is lunker No. 31 for the 2016-17 season, and Katchur will receive a replica of his fish courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association.