You can take the fish directly to a local taxidermist and have it mounted for showing. Or, as an increasing number of people are choosing to do, you can bring the fish to an official weigh station for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, and have the fish tagged and released back into the lake. For your conservation efforts, you also will be awarded a fiberglass replica of the bass mount that is equally suitable for hanging as a showpiece.
The "catch" is that the "catch" has to be a 10-pounder or more. But that's no problem for Toledo Bend, one of the top big bass fisheries in the U.S.
According to Dinah Medine, who coordinates the effort for the Toledo Bend Lake Association, 57 largemouths surpassing the 10-pound mark were entered into the replica program this cycle, which ran from May 2012 until May 2013.
That's a record number of entries for the program, which was established in 1993 and is completely funded by the Toledo Bend Lake Association.
"It says a lot about the quality of this fishery," Medine said, noting that the heaviest bass entered into the program during the past 12 months weighed 13.25 pounds.
It also speaks volumes about a conservation effort that is paying obvious dividends for Toledo Bend and the many anglers who regularly fish there.
"The anglers have been very receptive to this," Medine said. "The most-avid anglers are really in favor of putting the big fish back in the water. They want those lunker bass back in the lake, and they want them to reproduce.
"And, interestingly, we tag the fish and have found that a quarter of the time, they go back to the same place they were caught."
The 57 replica bass will be presented to the participating anglers this Sunday (May 19) during the McDonald's Big Bass Splash. The ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. at Cypress Bend Park.
Scottie's Taxidermy does all of the replica work.
The Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program was started by the Sabine River Authority. It was continued by Toledo Town before eventually coming under the management of the Toldeo Bend Lake Association.
To date, more than 500 lunkers have been returned to the reservoir to produce progeny that hopefully will grow as large as their parent fish.
"It's a wonderful program, and we're very proud of it," Medine said.
There are dozens of pictures of monster Toledo Bend bass, as well as a set of complete program rules and the list weigh stations on Facebook.