Darold Gleason might need more wall space to house all of the giant bass replicas he’ll be receiving soon from the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program.
Wednesday’s 11.71-pounder was his third double-digit bass at the Bend since November’s 10- pounder, which was followed up last month by another hog weighing 11.31 pounds.
Gleason, 31, of Leesville, was fishing with his client, Bob Bollin, and was anticipating a good day when they headed out.
“Knowing that we were going to experience clear, sunny skies with no wind, I told Mr. Bob that this would be the day to catch a very big bass,” Gleason said.
Departing at daybreak from Big Bass Marina, Gleason and Bollin headed straight out to the Indian Mounds where they had spent some of the tough, windy day before working on a bedding bass Gleason estimated to weigh 8 pounds.
“When we arrived there, the bass was gone, but we only had to move about 20 feet over to see two more fish on a nest,” he said. “I caught the male, which weighed 5 pounds, and Mr. Bob caught the largest bass he’s ever taken – a 7-pounder.”
Gleason was working the bedding bass by pitching a V&M Delta Bug on 50-pound Berkley Big Game braid spooled on a Quantum EXO reel with a heavy 7-foot 3-inch Falcon Cara Amistad flipping rod.
According to Gleason the anglers caught bass throughout the day, including fish weighing 6 and 8 pounds. Overall, he estimated their five heaviest would have made a 38-pound sack.
“It was a dream day, and the bass were certainly either on the beds or attempting to lock on them,” he said. “We even bypassed 5-pounders to work on larger fish.”
In the afternoon, the anglers observed a huge fish on the edge of a bed who was attempting to go and meet a male already on the bed.
Gleason decided to leave the big female alone for a while and decided to return later.
“We went back there by 2 p.m., and the fish was there with the male,” he said. “I started pitching in the bed and the female would ease up to the side. I decided to then take the male and put him in the livewell so I could work the large female. Mr. Bob was working a 5-pounder a few feet away.
“I left that bait on the bed at least 15 minutes. She would circle the bait but not touch it.”
Gleason saw a group of five grass carp invade the nest area, and the big female quickly chased them off.
“I knew she was aggressive and excited then,” Gleason said. “I reeled in the bait real fast on the side of the bed and she then turned and swam off with it.”
After a successful hook-set, Gleason held on as the big fish headed for deeper waters. The angler turned his trolling motor on to keep up with the fish.
“She came out the water three times, then came to the net, but we missed,” he said.
Finally, she ended up in Bollin’s waiting net, and the big bass weighed-in at 11.71 pounds at Toledo Town and Tackle.
The fish was tagged and later released alive, and Gleason's third replica from the Toledo Bend Lake Association is now on order.