What a difference a day makes.
Paulina anglers Thomas Hymel and Victor Guidry wrapped up a hard day of fishing in the 1215 area at Toledo Bend last Thursday with a three-bass stringer weighing just under 6 pounds.
The men were participating in the Tri-Parish Fishing Club’s annual two-day tournament, and they finished up Day 1 in 11th place out of 12 teams, more than 15 pounds behind the leaders.
With nothing to lose they changed things up on Friday and headed to the Patroon area and sight-fished beds in shallow water.
“The first two we pulled up to, we caught both of them,” Hymel said. “A 5-pounder and one a little over 4.”
After working on another 5-pounder for 40 minutes, the duo finally got her to bite and their first three fish on Friday weighed double what their three fish on Thursday did.
But the best was yet to come.
A little later, in the next pocket, Guidry snared a nice 6.8-pounder and Hymel caught the male with her, which weighed about 3 ½ pounds.
“Now we’ve got 23 or 24 pounds in that area with five fish, and we’re feeling really good,” Hymel said. “We spent the rest of the day sight fishing for something we think is over 4 pounds.”
At about 5:20 that afternoon, they returned to an area where they saw a really nice fish on a bed Wednesday afternoon, and sure enough, the big female was back on her spot.
“When we showed up there, she was sitting broadside underneath a big cypress tree. Victor flipped in there twice and she didn’t bite, but the first time I flipped in there she ate it,” Hymel said. “We had about 10 minutes left in the day and the third flip she bit and we put her in the boat.”
Hymel caught her on a Delta black-and-blue jig with a sapphire blue Zoom Super Chunk trailer
The big bass weighed 10.6 pounds at Toledo Town and Tackle, and was entered into the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, which awards anglers who catch 10-plus-pound bass free replicas if they agree to release their fish back into Toledo Bend waters.
More importantly for the team of Guidry and Hymel, the big bass capped a huge five-fish stringer that weighed a whopping 31.18 pounds, a new club record.
Anchored by the big lunker, the men jumped all the way up the leader board Friday and won the tournament with more than 37 pounds over the two days.
“Everything went perfect Friday. We didn’t break any fish off. There was one big fish that we saw that we didn’t catch, but all the rest of them we were able to land and get them in the boat without losing any,” he said.
“It was a day to remember for sure. You don’t have many of them like that.”
The 30-member club has held their annual tournament at Toledo Bend during the third week in March since 1991, Hymel said.
“We’ve had some special memories up there for our group,” he said. “It’s a nice little tradition we have going on.
“Hopefully, we’ll be fortunate enough for it to continue another 25 years.”