On Friday morning, Danny Hicks of DeRidder had plans to prefish an upcoming tournament on Toledo Bend.

Unfortunately, his fishing partner called in sick that day, so Hicks’ scouting foray ended up as a solo trip.

“It was a little warm, very windy, and there were whitecaps on the lake,” the 54 year old angler said.

Launching at Big Bass Marina, he motored very slowly over to the Six Mile area due to foggy conditions on the lake.

“I wanted to get there and check it out for both of us before the tournament,” he said. “I had taken bass there in the area before.”

Hicks was fishing grass lines in the area in 6 feet of water, and he was working a pink/red, ½-ounce Rat-L-Trap wherever there was submerged grass also in depths of 14- to 16- feet. He was casting these Rat-L-Traps on a 7-foot medium/heavy American Rodsmith rod with Berkley fluorocarbon spooled onto an Abu Revo STX reel.

“I started catching fish as soon as I arrived near Six Mile,” the angler said. “I was fixing to pull off to another location when a 4- pounder took the Rat-L-Trap.”

What happened while he was reeling in that fish made Hicks’ knees go weak.

“When I looked down at the 4- pounder coming to the boat, I saw a huge bass following it,” he said. “I then made a mental note of where this big fish was located so that my buddy and I could fish the location during the tournament.”

Hicks finally left the area to move to a nearby spot with depth and a submerged grass line.

“I would throw and run that Rat-L-Trap through the grass, and jerk it whenever the grass slowed it down,” Hicks said. “A fish hit the lure really fast — just nailed it and wrapped itself in the grass.

“It must have wrapped itself around a stump down there, too, and I thought I would never be able to get it out.”

The angler didn’t think there was a bass at the end of his line.

“The fish was heavy, and I thought it must be a big catfish the way it was pulling,” Hicks said.

The lure remained caught on the underwater obstruction, so Hicks reached over to grab his lure knocker to attach it to the line to run down and bang the lure off the obstruction.

“While I was doing that, I could feel the line moving and swaying, so the fish was still on the Rat-L-Trap,” he said. “I could feel her shaking her head.”

The bass finally got loose of the structure, and then it started making runs.

“The fish just had incredible power, and I was still thinking it was a catfish for a while,” Hicks said.

That all ended when the fish broke the surface.

“When it came up, I saw that it was a big bass, and she had wads of grass wrapped all around her,” Hicks said.

Hicks quickly lipped the bass, and when it was safely in the boat it was clear the fish would go over 10 pounds.

“I got the grass off of her and put the bass in the livewell,” he said.

Later, Hicks headed to Toledo Town and Tackle to weigh the bass on certified scales for entry into Toledo Bend Lake Association’s Lunker Bass Program.

Hicks’ fish officially weighed 10.85 pounds.

For more information regarding the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Toledo-Bend-Lunker-Bass-Program.