Brothers Darren and Joey Sexton have hunted Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge's trophy bass for years, and the stars finally lined up earlier this month when they each caught an 11-pound bass.
"It only took me 40-something years to catch it," Darren Sexton said of his 11.6-pounder.
The first trophy catch came Aug. 7, when the Lake Charles brothers were fishing in separate boats on one of the impoundments at Lacassine NWR.
"I caught (an) 8.2-pounder about 15 to 20 minutes before (Joey) caught his 11-pounder," Darren Sexton said.
Joey Sexton was working a Fluke through the thick vegetation when the huge bass struck.
The brothers' 82-year-old father Joe Sexton was in the boat with son Joey and was tasked with getting the largemouth over the gunnel.
"(Joey) left his landing net at home that day, and that man (Joe Sexton) jumped in the bottom of the boat and lipped that fish — at 82 years of age," Daren Sexton said.
The bass weighed 11.8 pounds
Just 11 days later, Darren Sexton was back to fish Lacassine with his son-in-law Clint Tilton and 5-year-old grandson.
"We had been fishing around some roseau," Darren Sexton said. "I was throwing a frog late in the evening when that fish came up and sucked it down."
The angler saw the fish waking the black/red Ribbit, but there was no huge explosion.
"It came up and sucked it down so lightly," Darren Sexton said.
However, it just took snapping the rod up for him to know the fish was big — real big.
"I set the hook and I told (Tilton), 'It's a good fish; get the net,'" Darren Sexton said.
The bass was netted on the first pass by the boat.
Darren Sexton's trophy weighed 11.6 pounds.
He said the two massive fish were the highlight of a great year on the wildlife refuge.
"I've caught three over 7 (pounds), two over 8 and that 11-pounder," Darren Sexton said.
Patience is the key to success at the impoundments, on which outboards larger than 40 horsepower are prohibited, he said.
"Don't get discouraged by Lacassine," Darren Sexton explained. "Laccassine holds good fish. Just slow down; fish it good and slow."
He also said it's worth making friends with someone who knows the waters and asking questions or making trips with them.
Fortunately, the rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Harvey shouldn't have a negative impact on the fishery — in fact, the fishing could get more exciting.
"It's going to make it better," Darren Sexton said. "Every time you get higher water levels, it gets better."