Two Texas anglers had a whale of a day at Toledo Bend on Saturday.
Despite the cold weather this winter, several lunker bass have already been landed, and with warmer temperatures in the immediate forecast, it's shaping up to be a bang-up spring at the Bend.
Blake Carpenter lands 11.74-pounder
Sometimes the best laid plans don’t always happen, but that turned out to be a good thing for 27-year-old Blake Carpenter of Silsbee, Texas.
This past Saturday morning, Feb. 8, his original plan was to show friend RJ Krebes around Toledo Bend and maybe catch a few bass in the process.
Launching from Willow Oaks boat launch near Six Mile at around 7:30 that morning, he and Krebes initially fished a small hump in Sandy Creek with no results.
At 8:15, he switched from an SY8 Rat-L-Trap to a Living Chrome version and cast into 15- to 20-feet of water in Hausen Bay.
He worked the Trap on a medium/heavy Falcon LowRider rod with 15-pound Spiderwire fluorocarbon attached to a Shimano Calais reel.
”At about 9:30, I made a second pass around a hump in Hausen when I hooked up on a fish,” Carpenter said. “I kept telling RJ that I thought it was a good catfish the way the fish was swimming and fighting. I fought with the fish for 10 to 15 minutes as it tried to run deeper.
“It pulled drag twice and went around the boat once, and my buddy was trying to get the net unfolded. When that fish came up on the side of the boat on RJ’s side, his mouth went wide open when he saw it was a bass. That’s when we both started screaming.”
According to Carpenter, the fish was tiring, and Krebes finally just reached over and grabbed the bass.
“We placed her in the livewell while I unpacked a handheld digital scale,” he said. “When we weighed her, the scale read 14.15 pounds, so we knew that was certainly wrong.”
The anglers placed the bass back into the livewell and then trailered the boat to drive to Toledo Town and Tackle to weigh the bass on a certified scale for potential entry into the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program sponsored by the Toledo Bend Lake Association.
Carpenter’s lunker bass was officially recorded at 11.74 pounds and was eligible for a free replica.
The bass, which turned out to be their only fish of the day, was tagged and eventually released back into Toledo Bend.
Guy Burks hauls in 10.01-pounder
After watching Skeeter Bass Champs and FLW Outdoors on television, Guy Burks of Lowe’s Creek, Texas got inspired.
He knew he wasn’t going to catch anything staying inside watching the tube, so the 60-year-old decided to make an afternoon fishing trip.
But it was 42 degrees in the boat and water temps were only at 46 degrees.
“I was on Lowe’s Creek and fishing the edges of moss where the waters dropped to 14 feet,” Burks said.
He was fishing a 5-inch, pumpkin/chartreuse Cane Thumper on a Falcon Rod with Spiderwire braid attached to a Lew’s BB1 reel the same way as a plastic worm.
“I caught one small bass early,” he said.
About 30 minutes later, the angler made a cast and recalled the fish hitting the bait on the fall.
“I saw my line take off and I set the hook,” Burks said. “The fish never jumped and was making two runs around the boat as I loosened up some drag so she could run.
“I finally was able to lip the bass into the boat and put her in the livewell,” he said. “I placed her on my scales later and the weights ranged from 9.15 to 10.2 pounds.”
His wife met him on the banks, and he placed the bass in a 48-quart cooler filled with lake water to make the drive to Toledo Town and Tackle for an accurate weight and potential entry into the Toledo Bend Lake Association’s Lunker Bass Program.
The big bass just made it, tipping the scales at 10.01 pounds, and Burks will receive a free replica next spring.
The bass was tagged and released back into the waters of Toledo Bend.
For more information on the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, click here.