Another wild week of 10-pounders at Toledo Bend

Cooley, Creel and Lee all land double-digit fish eligible for the Lunker Bass Program

Chris Berzas

March 25 at 1:44 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Phillip Lee caught this 10-pounder near Pirate's Cove on Toledo Bend on Tuesday, March 18. It is his second double-digit bass eligible for the Toledo Bend Lunker Program.
Phillip Lee caught this 10-pounder near Pirate's Cove on Toledo Bend on Tuesday, March 18. It is his second double-digit bass eligible for the Toledo Bend Lunker Program.
Photo submitted by Phillip Lee

At least three more anglers landed big-time bass during the last week at Toledo Bend.

Here’s a recap of how they caught their lunkers.

Joel Cooley Jr. lands a 10.08-pounder

The bite bass fishermen dream of happened early for Joel Cooley, Jr. of Lufkin, Tx. during a fishing tournament on Toledo Bend.

The 43-year-old angler was fishing with Jason Davis of Carthage, Tx. on Saturday, March 15, and the duo was running a little late getting on the water on the south end of the lake.

“We really found good conditions,” Cooley said, referring to cloudy skies and winds at only 4 mph.

“We were fishing the deep edges of grass out in front of Red’s Point,” he said

Cooley was casting an Alabama rig with Gene Larew’s swimbaits on 50-pound PowerPro braid. His line was spooled on an Abu Garcia Revo SX affixed to a 7-foot 10-inch Lew’s rod.

“We caught our first keeper at 7:30, a buck bass,” he said.

After placing the bass in the livewell, the anglers made a few more casts and ended up with another keeper buck taken on the A-rig by Davis.

“Then I made another cast and the big fish hit,” Cooley said.

He allowed the fish to pull drag twice before he actually set the hook to be sure she stayed on.

Davis netted Cooley’s bass after struggling with the A-rig tangled in the net from his buck bass.

“I figured the bass was an 8-pounder at first,” Cooley said.

They placed the big fish in the livewell and kept fishing.

“We sorta went into a dead period with no bites for a while there,” he said.

They eventually motored over to a few other points that resulted in two additional keepers, and ended up with 26.24 pounds for the day.

The big bass tipped the scales at 10.08 pounds.

Dustin Creel’s 10.04-pounder

Paulina angler Dustin Creel caught the biggest bass of his life while sight-fishing Toledo Bend’s largemouths with his brother-in-law on Sunday, March 16.

Launching on the south end of the Texas side near the bridge, Creel and Guy Chadwick had four fish by the afternoon.

About 2 p.m., the anglers spied two big fish in the shallows.

“We were drifting near the banks when we saw these two fish take off,” Creel said. “I was fishing a watermelon/candy red Zoom Magnum Finesse worm wacky style, and they didn’t want to hit it.”

Creel was throwing the worm on a 7-foot 2-inch Skeet Reese Senko Toad rod with an Abu Garcia SX reel spooled with 17-pound Suffix line.

The anglers decided to leave the area for 30 minutes to allow the fish to settle back on the beds.

“When we came back, we worked these fish for about an hour,” he said “The big fish came back and actually hit it twice moving it off the bed. We threw at it back and forth, and it seemed like we cast about a thousand times.”

Finally, their hard work paid off.

“After one cast, I felt I was hooked on grass,” Creel said. “When I pulled slightly, my line started to run to the left. I set the hook, and then the fish shot straight to the middle of the canal.

“The bass came jumping out of the water, and I got real nervous when I saw how big it was.”

The bass went underneath the boat, and Creel worked it for another 30 seconds.

“It finally came back to the boat, and my brother-in-law netted it,” Creel said.

The anglers stayed around a while longer while Chadwick worked the other bass on the bed, but it didn’t bite.

Creel’s bass officially weighed 10.04 pounds at Toledo Town and Tackle.

Chadwick went back the next day and actually caught the elusive bass on that nest — it was a 6- pounder.

Phillip Lee’s Pirate Cove 10-pounder

On Tuesday, March 18, Phillip Lee was busy practicing for an upcoming FLW tournament on Toledo Bend’s waters.

“I had one specific place I wanted to try and I went to an area near Pirate’s Cove,” the 31-year-old Leesville angler said.

Lee was fishing a -ounce homemade jig with a craw trailer. His lure was tied to 17-pound Berkley fluorocarbon spooled onto a Shimano Curado that was attached to a 7-foot 6-inch heavy action Falcon jigging stick.

“I caught a 5-pounder on the very first cast,” he said. “And on the second cast, I caught a 7-pounder.”

Lee was trying to shake the fish off since he was practicing, but they ended up hooked.

On his third cast of the day, Lee hooked another big fish that he had no luck shaking off either.

“I just figured I had another 5- to 7-pounder. She only pulled drag for 3 to 4 seconds and then rolled over on her side,” he said.

Aboard the boat, the huge bass was bleeding, and Lee worked hard to stop the flow by meticulously applying pressure and performing other types of first aid.

“I stayed there awhile until the bleeding stopped, and I took her immediately over to Toledo Town & Tackle,” he said. “I got there around 8:30.”

Lee’s bass weighed-in at 10 pounds on the nose, his second entry in to the Toledo Bend Lunker Program. In May of 2012, Lee caught his first double-digit bass, a 10.17-pounder.

All three bass were entered into the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, which awards anglers who catch 10-plus-pound bass with a free replica if they agree to tag and return their bag bass back to Toledo Bend waters.

For more information regarding the TBLBP, click here.

Joel Cooley Jr. of Lufkin, Texas, caught this 10.08-pounder on Saturday, March 15 near Red's Point.
Dustin Creel shows off his 10.04-pounder taken off of a bed in the shallows Sunday, March 16 at Toledo Bend.



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