Every year, Jared Adams makes his first fishing trip for Toledo Bend bass in February, then transitions to saltwater fishing after early spring.
Before he became a licensed charter guide for trophy speckled trout and redfish on Calcasieu Lake, Adams spent much of his youth fishing on the Bend - his father was a well-known competitive bass anger there.
So he knew from years of experience where some of Toledo Bend’s lunker bass might be lurking last Sunday, Feb. 9.
“I had a little spot I find them every February,” said Adams, 30, of Sulphur. “The location is outside a secondary grassline on a hump of the edge of a creek near the Hausen area.”
According to Adams, big bass are fond of this area because they more easily transition early from the river into the Six Mile area, Hausen Bay and the Indian Mounds.
“As soon as we pulled up, we began casting red Rat-L-Traps into 10 feet of water at the edge of the grasslines,” he said. “I was using a medium/heavy 7-foot Duce Rod with 30-pound FINS braid and an 18-inch flourocarbon leader.”
Adams said they then fished the area thoroughly and the bite tapered off.
“We went to another creek in the area and used the same pattern,” he said. “We caught 3 more bass, one in the 6 ½- to 7-pound range.
“But about 9 a.m., the bite completely died down in the whole area.”
Adams and Reed then fished deeper holes near Hausen and other creeks, but the bass did not respond.
“At 12:30, I cast toward a stump I used to tie onto,” Adams said. “That area is usually good for one or two fish, and we were throwing Carolina-rigged, 8-inch watermelon red lizards in the deeper water.
“I stuck a big fish there at 9 pounds that we released after a few pictures,” he said.
Following that catch, they decided to take a midday break and travel to Fin & Feather for lunch.
“We had evidently done well that day because the other people we spoke too reported that the fishing was slow,” Adams said.
About 3:30 that afternoon, they returned to the locations they had fished earlier that morning.
“I immediately caught one at 7 pounds and let it go,” he said. “My buddy also caught a 5-pounder.
“By this time, I had narrowed down the location to where all these big bass were holding to a 50- yards stretch,” he said. “I told the guys we needed to work the area well - to keep chunking until another big one decides to eat.
“I missed a solid fish a little later, but I still knew the big bites were going to happen.”
About three casts later, Adams stuck a fish on the bottom that just wouldn’t move.
“I hollered out to get the net, but the fish wouldn’t budge off the bottom and was swimming left and right for well over a minute,” he said. “Finally she started coming up but really fast so I lowered my rod in case she would jump.
“She did come up and did a head-shake but her full body didn’t come out the water then. My knees just buckled right there and I remember shouting, ‘Gotta be one over 12!’”
The angler then recalled his buddy netting the bass as it was jumping out the water.
“When he picked up the net on one of those jumps – it snapped in half and the bass headed back into the water,” he said.
“Holding the rim of the net, he finally got the fish onto the deck of the boat,” Adams said. “And I knew then it was my largest bass ever.”
After making a few phone calls and texting images of the bass, they decided to weigh it at Fin & Feather.
Adams decided to keep the bass for a skin mount since it was the biggest one he had ever caught, and because he had released all other large fish that day.
On the return home to Sulphur, he stopped to weigh the bass on certified scales at Cajun Fast Mart, and it came in at 12.86 pounds, which would make it the 27th largest bass taken in Toledo Bend waters.
On a humorous note and one not unfamiliar for many Toledo Bend anglers, one of the eyes on his rod had broken late that morning, and as a result, his one and only Rat-L-Trap of the color he was catching on landed 25 feet up in a tree after a cast.
After lunch, Adams literally climbed the tree up to snag the very lure that later caught the Toledo Bend trophy bass of his life.
Record bass at Toledo Bend are tracked by Toledo Bend Lake Country Records and can be viewed by clicking here.