Last Wednesday, Jan. 24, Hunter Vaughn and his grandpa Jack Elkins decided to make a quick late-afternoon fishing trip on Lake Bistineau. Neither knew it at the time, but they were about one hour from encountering the biggest bass they’d ever seen.

“It’s pretty muddy water, so I was fishing probably 7 feet deep just casting on cypress trees,” said Vaughn, 24, of Elm Grove, who recalled the big bass hitting at about 4 p.m. “We were just right off the channel casting and trolling along. We were about to head somewhere else, and I threw one last time and she was just sitting there.

“It immediately engulfed the bait on the way down, and I just felt her. I set the hook and I knew it was a big one.”

Vaughn, who was fishing with a Shimano rod and a Daiwa reel spooled with 20-pound PowerPro braid, said the big bass nailed a wacky-rigged Senko in Mardi Gras color.

“She stayed down pretty good until she got to the boat,” he said. “She jumped one time and we got her calmed down and just grabbed her — we didn’t have a net in the boat.”

His grandpa actually lipped the big fish in.

“He was freaking out,” Vaughn said. “He’s got a 10-pounder on his wall, and he said, ‘That’s the biggest fish I’ve ever seen!’ I said, ‘Well, you better hurry up and get it in the boat. 

“It was cool. It was crazy. I was kind of at a loss for words.”

The pair put the bass in the livewell, and headed out to quickly get measurements. It tipped the scales at a whopping 12 pounds, 5 ounces, with a 27-inch length and a massive 20 ¼-inch girth.

Vaughn released the bass — his biggest ever — back into Bistineau, and ordered a replica mount to commemorate a day on the water he and his grandpa won’t ever forget.