After fighting sustained 25-mph southerly winds on Toledo Bend on Tuesday morning, Missouri anglers Lance Wakeland and John Bilgere agreed to get back on the water about 5 p.m.
The anglers launched out of Holly Park Marina and headed to an area within a mile of the ramp.
“We were fishing a big flat with grass and stumps,” the 52-year-old Wakeland said. “I was throwing a spinnerbait — a ⅜- ounce, white/chartreuse, double willow leaf Strike King with a chartreuse/red trailer.”
His spinnerbait was tied on to a 30-pound fluorocarbon leader affixed to 50-pound braid.
The anglers were working 2-foot-deep water near the banks.
In 30 minutes, Wakeland had a couple of 3-pounders and two short fish.
And then he thought he was hung up on a stump.
“I set the hook and the line started moving,” Wakleand said.
He told Bilgere to get the net.
“John was on the trolling motor, and he helped me by steering away from the stumps in the area while I was working the fish,” he said. “He did grab the net.
“The fish didn’t come up for a while, so I knew I had something special.”
The fish jumped twice during the fight, and the size of the fish stunned the anglers.
Wakeland battled the fish as it jumped and made a run under the boat, but Bilgere finally netted the bass.
Wakeland said Bilgere asked him if he realized the enormity of the catch.
“John had seen two other 13 pounders before from Lake Fork, so he knew how special this fish was,” Wakeland said. “I wanted to fish some more, but John said that we had to go in to get this fish certified.”
There was some excitement at Holly Park Marina when this bass arrived.
“This is the largest bass ever brought in here in my 45 years,” said Ronnie Greer, longtime owner of Holly Park Marina.
It was tagged at 13.4 pounds on two uncertified scales before being placed in the minnow vat at the Marina.
“I think John was even more excited than I was, and he was able to contact Texas Park and Wildlife Department’s ShareLunker Program,” Wakeland said.
In a couple of hours, TPWD personnel arrived and weighed the brute on certified scales. The offical weight was 13.3 pounds.
The fish measured 24.5 inches long, and its girth was 21 inches.
Wakeland will receive a free replica, as well as an assortment of other prizes, for donating his bass to TPWD for spawning purposes.
For more information regarding TP&W’s Toyota ShareLunker Program, visit its website by clicking here.