Lake Charles angler Johnny Watkins has had his best spring ever in terms of catching huge bass — a couple of 9- pounders, as well as some 8s, 7s and 6s on Toledo Bend.

Watkins landed the huge bass while fishing grass beds with a frog.

But when he decided to make a quick morning run on Tuesday to the Calcasieu River just a few miles east of his home, he never expected a turn of events that could lead to his catching one of the largest largemouths ever to be taken taken on his home waters.

"It was supposed to be a short, fun, morning fishing trip," the 36-year-old angler said. "I was planning to leave early in the afternoon to pick up my son."

Watkins launched at Calcasieu Parish's White Oak Park, motored a few miles north and began fishing the west bank of the river.

 "I started out at about 7 a.m. flipping a ½-ounce, black/blue Stanley flipping jig with a 3 ½- inch black/blue YNOT trailer," he said. "I was targeting the edges of cypresses on the western banks of the river."

Watkins said the weather was partly cloudy, the waters were stained and the tide was slack

He also said that, for a two-hour stretch, he didn't have a single bite — not untypical for fishing the Calcasieu River under these conditions.

But at approximately 9 a.m., Watkins cast his jig to a big cypress tree in 4 feet of water.

"I felt the fish and set the hook, and I thought I had a choupique on," he said. "She then comes up from the water, and I get a look at her mouth — and I saw clearly it was a big bass."

After working the fish to the boat, Watkins weighed the fish on a hand-held Berkley scale and the reading settled at 10.6 pounds.

He then placed the lunker in his livewell for pictures to be taken at the landing.
"Prior to this fish, my largest bass on the Calcasieu River was a 6-pounder," he said.

Watkins later released the bass after a brief set of pictures.

Watkins' 10.6-pound bass is one of very few lunker largemouths to be taken out of the Calcasieu River. In fact, a 6- pound fish is considered big in this river environment that also supports a solid spotted bass fishery.

Watkins' bass tops a 9 ½-pounder caught on the Calcasieu River by Terrence Cahee, who was fishing with the Lake Charles Cypress Bass Husters at the time of the catch.

A  report on the Louisiana Sportsman forum claimed a 12-pounder was taken from the river in March, but that catch has not been verified.