Michel Fox had located some quality fish in Carrice Creek a month before catching the largest bass of his life at Toledo Bend.

“They were in a fall pattern, a little deep,” the 52-year-old New Iberia angler said. “But I could tell they were staging and getting ready to move in.”

So on the morning of Friday, Feb. 24, Fox, his wife Daina and their golden retriever Beretta headed to that very same location to see if the fish were still there.

“We started out catching a few keepers on Carolina-rigged worms,” Fox said. “They were on points in open waters.”

After a lunch break at this camp, they returned to Carrice Creek and Fox made a move inside to the shallows.

He changed his lure and began casting a Gene Larew Rattlin’ Crawler on a 4/0 Gamakatsu Flippin’ hook in 3 to 4 feet of water. Fox was fishing with 15-pound Berkley Big Game mono spooled to a Bass Pro Qualifier reel on a 7 ½-foot medium Bass Pro Carbonite rod.

“She hit like a normal bass,” he said. “I had been having trouble with hook-ups on that bait, so I learned to let the fish hit it twice before setting the hook.”

The angler did exactly that and after the fish was hooked, it made a run under the boat and eventually surfaced as Fox continued to make gains on it.

“I finally was able to bring her back around the boat and lipped her in,” he said. “When Daina saw the fish she said, ‘I have never seen a fish with a mouth like that,’ because of the size of the bass.”

Upon further inspection, Fox was happy to have landed the lunker at all because his hook was protruding from the thin, soft side of the fish’s mouth. If the battle had waged on much longer, the point would have torn a larger hole and the bass likely would have escaped. 

“I immediately placed the bass in the livewell and trailered the boat,” he said. 

Fox made the short drive to Keith’s Toledo Bend Tackle, an official weigh station for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, where his bass tipped the certified scales at an impressive 10.79 pounds. 

The fish was tagged and later released as fish No. 49 for the 2016-17 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program season.

In May, Fox will receive a free replica of his lunker courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association.