Dequian Jackson hasn’t been bass fishing all that long, but the 20-year-old reeled in a true lunker largemouth earlier this month from a public pond in Bayou Sorrel and experienced a fight most veteran anglers likely will never get to feel in their lifetimes.

Jackson, of Bayou Goula, was fishing with his uncle, Sterling Saylor, on Sunday, Dec. 17 in a small paddle boat when lightning struck — and a giant 12-pound bass inhaled his June bug-colored Texas-rigged wacky worm.

“My uncle started fishing for crappie, and I was just throwing my line out,” Jackson said. “Then we headed to the other side of the pond where we saw a couple of stumps in the water. He threw a Beetle Spin out and had a bite but got hung.

“So before he went over there to get the Beetle Spin off the stump, he told me to throw mine.”

When their trip had gotten underway about noon that Sunday, his uncle had proposed an ill-timed bet to make the day’s proceedings a bit more interesting — not knowing his nephew was about to land the biggest bass either man had ever laid eyes on.

“When we first got in the boat, he said, ‘Let’s make a $5 bet on who catches the biggest bass,’” Jackson recounted with a chuckle. 

Turns out it was the easiest money he’s ever made.

“I threw mine a foot or two past the stump, and I felt something hit it,” he said. “I jerked it twice to make sure it was on, but I didn’t feel it moving, but my uncle was like, ‘It’s on there.’ I had backlashed, so I had some slack in my line, then I saw the line go tight and it was pulling, pulling, pulling.”

The anglers got a quick glimpse of the fish and at first suspected it was a choupique, then got a better look about a minute later. “He said, ‘If that’s a bass, it’s a big one,’” Jackson said. “She wasn’t jumping or nothing — she stayed down.”

Jackson’s uncle netted the monster on his second attempt — and as it turns out, just in the nick of time.

“As soon as he got it in the net, the hook fell completely out the mouth,” he said. “My heart was beating fast. He said, ‘’Quian, you can stop — she’s in the boat.”

The men headed over to Jack Miller’s Landing, where the giant bass tipped the certified scales at 12.81 pounds. They kept the bass alive and headed to Cabela’s later that evening, and left the bass there in a holding tank until picking it up a couple of days later. It weighed 12.81 pounds there, as well.

If the catch is certified by a biologist and ultimately approved by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers' Association, Jackson's lunker bass will be tied for third place for pond-caught bass, behind the No. 1-ranked 13.5-pound lunker caught by Mark Leicher in 1999 in a pond in Waldheim. The overall Louisiana record largemouth bass was caught by Greg Wiggins in Caney Lake in 1994, and tipped the scales at a whopping 15.97 pounds. 

Jackson, who hopes to walk-on the Southeastern University baseball team this spring, said they ultimately decided to keep the fish, which will go up on the wall to commemorate a day at the pond neither man will likely ever forget.

And his uncle paid up on that big bass bet.

“When I caught it, he said, ‘I’m just going to give your money now, because I know I’m not catching anything like that,’” he said.