Dennis Lott caught the largest fish of the Toledo Bend Lunker Program’s season Saturday when he reeled in a 12.89-pound monster sitting on a shallow bed in the Housen area.
Lott, 44, and his wife were fishing in a club tournament and launched that morning to cool temperatures and overcast skies.
“The bass were on the beds,” said Lott, of Walker. “I caught my first bass at about 7:30.”
He saw lots of buck (male) bass in the shallows, and worked them repeatedly with a black/red 8-inch Big Bite lizard. He was using 17-pound Bass Pro monofilament spooled onto a Bass Pro Shop Pro Qualifier reel on a 7-foot Skeet Reese spinnerbait/worm rod.
A little later in the morning, Lott caught three more buck bass. But as he was working the last one, he saw a huge bass moving in the shallows.
“She kept moving and looking around,” he said. “There were a lot of other male bass in the area, and they immediately got nervous when she showed up. The large female was swimming from bed to bed, and I chased her around for two hours trying to take her.
“She finally settled down in one nesting area with one buck bass present. That was the largest male bass in the area, and he looked to be somewhere between 4- and 5-pounds. The male bass initially backed off the nest, but I watched as she literally came out and pushed him back into the area. Then she backed up into the center of the nest.”
Lott watched the huge female as she began dropping eggs. He texted a friend and estimated she weighed between 8 and 9 pounds.
“She wouldn’t even look at the lure until she started dropping eggs,” he said.
But on his first cast after the initial film of eggs had dropped, she quickly snatched the lizard and ran with it, and Lott set the hook immediately.
“She ran to the right of the boat,” he said. “She was busy taking drag, and my wife had the net ready.
“She came up and did a dance on top. The bass was hooked well so I just kept working her.”
Lott said the bass made a run to the back of the boat and got tangled in the motor, and he initially thought he had lost the lunker.
“When I first felt the line, I couldn’t tell she was still on,” he said. “But when I reached down and grabbed the line near the motor when I could feel her.
“All of a sudden I looked up and just beyond the motor, she was floating on top, evidently tired out from the fight. So I put the net on her.”
They brought her aboard, and husband and wife had a quick celebration before putting her safely in the livewell.
“My wife was very happy for me, and I was so excited I could barely talk anymore,” Lott said.
He trailered the boat and kept the aerator on for the 30-minute drive to Toledo Town and Tackle.
Lott’s bass was weighed-in at 12.89 pounds before being tagged and released as part of the Toledo Bend Lunker Program, which awards anglers who catch 10-pound-plus bass a free replica if they agree to release the bass back into Toledo Bend waters.
Lott’s bass is the largest of the Toledo Lunker Bass Program season, which began last June. The lunker measured 25 ¼- inches long with a 22 ¼-inch girth.