John Hodnett’s is probably like most anglers who occasionally visit Toledo Bend: They know the possibility of catching a double-digit bass exists, but don’t ever believe it will actually happen to them.
But on Saturday, March 11, Hodnett’s wildest dreams came true when he landed an almost 11-pound lunker in the Six Mile area.
The 61-year-old from Colfax was fishing with his son John after launching about 8:30 that morning.
“We were fishing the shallows close to deeper water,” Hodnett said. “By 11 we had two good keepers, one at 3 ½ pounds and the other a 4-pounder. We also caught a few short fish, too.”
Hodnett was using a green-pumpkin Yamamoto Senko cast weightlessly on 10-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon spooled to an H2O Express reel on an H2O Express rod.
A few minutes after 11, Hodnett twitched his lure and felt a hit.
“I set the hook and the fish just didn’t move,” he said.
But a few seconds later, the big bass ran and his reel started to scream.
“It took her a little while to figure out she was hooked,” he said. “When that happened, she headed out toward 10 feet of water.”
Hodnett had to engage the trolling motor to keep up with the big fish.
“She came up and that was the first time we saw how big she was,” he said. “She shook her head but then went back under for another run. I set the drag looser because of the 10-pound mono and eventually tightened it up later.
“She came back up again and we could see her huge mouth shaking again on the water’s surface. But this time she stayed shallow, just 2 to 3 feet under the water.”
Hodnett was able to work the fish to the side of the boat where John netted it.
After a small celebration, they placed the big fish gently into the livewell.
“We didn’t have a scale on board, but a couple of guys fishing near us came by and let us use their scale,” Hodnett said. “She weighed 10.85 pounds.”
With the big bass safely aboard, they fished a little longer and caught another 3 ½-pounder.
“We returned to the camp and agreed with my brother-in-law to take the fish to Fin & Feather Resort to weigh her,” he said.
On Fin & Feather’s certified scales, Hodnett’s bass officially weighed 10.95 pounds.
“This fish was the largest bass I have ever seen alive in the wild and taken,” he said.
The fish, officially No. 55 entered into the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, was tagged and later released alive back into Toledo Bend waters.
In mid-May, Hodnett will receive a free replica of his lunker courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association.