On Wednesday, veteran bass angler and Vietnam War veteran James Bryan of Delhi left his home a mile away from Richland Parish's Poverty Point Reservoir State Park to do what he enjoys — bass fishing.

That decision resulted in his catching the biggest bass of his life — a fish that topped the 12-pound mark.

After launching his boat, the 66-year-old angler headed to a location where he knew largemouths were pre-staging before the spawn.

"I was out there fishing some logjams by myself," Bryan said.

Throwing a homemade, white/chartreuse ½- ounce spinnerbait, the angler was rewarded early with a 6-pounder that Bryan released.

"I was doing some very tedious fishing with that spinnerbait — slow rolling it in 11 ½ feet of water," he said. "I would let the spinnerbait fall, and then slow roll it right near the bottom."

It was at 11:15 am when he felt a good hit and a strong pull after he drove the hook home. He said he knew immediately it was a good fish because it stayed down for a while, pulling some drag on the reel.

Although he was on the waters alone, Bryan was prepared for what was to come.

"When the bass came on top and rolled over, I knew then it was one about 10 pounds or so," he said.
But suddenly the bass went back under the water and made another drag-running maneuver.

"After I got it back on top, I had already moved over to sit on my rod box to lip the fish," Bryan said.

Hoisting the big bass over the gunnel, he moved it directly to the livewell. He then tied everything down and put the boat on plane.

"On my way to the marina, I was thinking I had a 10-pounder," Bryan said.
But when he put the bass on the marina's scales, the fish bogged it down to the 12.24-pound mark.

"I was very careful handling that bass," Bryan said. "After weighing it and having a quick picture taken, I placed it back in the livewell in my boat."

He then did what many might not.

"I then motored over to where I caught her and released the fish to watch her swim away," he said.

Bryan is no stranger to catching Poverty Point Reservoir's big bass, Last year he caught a 9.1- pounder, one over 8, a 7.6 pounder and several others over 6.

According to the angler, the fishing will be good for big prespawn bass now, although water temps have been around 55 degrees during the week.

"They'll start spawning in good numbers here when the water temperatures reach 65 degrees," Bryan said. "Look for structure such as rock and logjams now, and fish the depths where they'll be staging."

According to Ms. Pat Patrick at the north Poverty Point Reservoir Marina, the Poverty Point Reservoir Bass record stands at 13.06 pounds. That fish was caught on Feb. 2, 2012.

here have been several trophy bass taken over 9 pounds in the last three years.

Click here for more information regarding Poverty Point State Park.