Almost three years ago, when Ross Roper’s then-girlfriend caught a giant 11-pound-plus bass near Palo Gaucho Creek on Toledo Bend, he was there to net the monster aboard.
Now Courtney Keller is Roper’s wife, and she returned the favor last month when she netted her husband’s biggest bass ever — a 10.66-pound lunker caught in deep water near the Indian Mounds on March 22.
In fact, the 28-year-old angler from Lutcher nearly had two 10-pounders that day: He also caught a 9.38-pounder less than two hours after weighing-in the first lunker bass.
“It was actually bigger than the first one, it was just empty,” Roper said of the 9.38. “It looked like it had just laid its eggs.”
He and his wife had set out that morning around 7 from Cypress Bend, and the action was relatively slow.
“We started off shallow catching bedding fish, and she caught a couple of 3-pounders and I caught a 3-pounder,” Roper said. “Around lunch time, we decided to go deep. While we were on the trolling motor and we were about to go deep, I caught a 6 ½.
“Then we got deep, and within the first 10 minutes, the big one bit.”
Roper was fishing with a 12-inch purple worm on an offshore point. His boat was in about 20 feet of water, and he was throwing into 10 or 15 feet.
“I was working it downhill,” he said. “We were out there dragging worms.”
He was using a 7-foot, 3-inch Falcon rod and a Shimano Chronarch reel spooled with 17-pound Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon.
“I made a bomb 45-yard cast across the point and the big one bit as soon as it hit the bottom,” he said. “I set the hook and it came straight up and jumped. I called for the net and got it to the boat and Courtney scooped it.
“It was probably a 3- or 4-minute deal.”
The big bass weighed 10.58 on Roper’s scale, so they put the fish in the livewell and headed for Toledo Town and Tackle, an official weigh station for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.
It officially tipped the scales there at 10.66 pounds, and the fish was tagged and later released. Roper will receive a free replica of the trophy courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association.
“I was pretty pumped,” he said. “I don’t know how else to explain it.”
The couple stopped in at their cabin for a quick lunch, then hit the water again.
“I told her, ‘The big ones are biting. Let’s go back out there,’” he said.
On a different point in the same area — only 15 minutes after he started fishing that afternoon — he hooked up with the 9.38-pounder.
Roper figures his five best fish that day weighed in the neighborhood of 34 pounds.
“I was up there for two weeks. I had fished a club tournament the week before …. I knew they were there,” he said. “The wind finally laid off and we were able to get out there — and we caught them.”