Darold Gleason’s very last cast Saturday afternoon produced the result he’d been waiting for all day long.
The Toledo Bend guide and Bassmaster Open contender was competing in a Fishers of Men National Tournament Trail stop at Toledo Bend and had a 3:30 weigh-in to make, and remembers making his final cast with fellow angler Kevin Jeane of Anacoco about 3:19.
They were fishing a deep ridge in 18- to 20-feet of water near Hausen Bay, and Gleason was throwing a brown/purple V&M Pacemaker Flatline Football jig with a purple haze V&M Swamp Hog trailer tied on to 15-pound Berkley Trilene fluorocarbon with a heavy action flipping rod.
“The fish hit the jig really hard and I immediately knew it was a big one,” said Gleason, 31, of Leesville.
The angler worked the fish all around his boat as the bass kept pulling drag.
“I kept pressure on the fish until she tired,” he said.
Jeane netted the monster bass, which ultimately tipped the scales at 11.31 pounds, and the anglers started yelling, screaming and high-fiving when she was safely aboard.
But they couldn't celebrate long, and motored back in time to meet the deadline.
Earlier in the day under foggy conditions, they were fishing toledo gold Rat-L-Traps in scattered grass in about 6-feet of water, and had five fish in the livewell by about 8:30 that morning. The bite had slowed down until Gleason latched on to the big fish with his last cast, with water temperatures in the 55- to 58-degree range.
The two men weighed in 22.81 pounds of bass for the day, and ranked fifth, with Gleason’s lunker earning the stop’s Big Bass award.
After the tournament, they headed for Toledo Town and Tackle to have the fish officially weighed for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, which awards an angler a free replica for any 10-pound-plus bass that is returned to Toledo Bend waters.
At a hefty 11.31 pounds, she was Gleason’s personal best and his largest from Toledo Bend.
He also became a member of the Toledo Bend Lake Association’s Elite Lunker Club with the catch, which was his fourth bass weighing more than 10 pounds taken from the Bend since 2007, including a 10.09-pound bruiser caught in November.