With only 30 minutes until weigh-in for the Fishers of Men tournament at Toledo Bend on March 1, Texan Kevin Madeley and David Miller of Lake Charles had five fish in the livewell and just a few more minutes of fishing time to spare.
Madeley, 41, of Vidor, had scouted the area near Housen Bay on a previous trip and wanted to try to make one more quick stop.
“I told David that I had one more spot to try where I had caught a few fish in the past,” he said.
The anglers arrived and began casting red crawfish Rat-L-Traps on a hump in the area that held both grass and a sand flat.
Madeley was throwing the lipless crankbait on 12-pound Sunline fluorocarbon spooled to a Lew’s reel on a Denali rod.
“It was 3 p.m., and the weigh-in was scheduled for 3:30 p.m.,” Madeley said. “I was throwing the Rat-L-Trap in 6- to 8-feet of water, and there was a sandy spot between areas on the hump that I was targeting.”
When the lure suddenly stopped, Madeley set the hook.
“I told David that I thought that it was a pretty good fish,” Madeley said. “I was thinking maybe 3 to 4 pounds.”
When the big fish surfaced, both anglers realized how big she was, and with the Rat-L-Trap hooked firmly to the both the mouth and an area under the gill plate, the fight didn’t last long.
“That’s when I got nervous seeing how big the bass was,” Madeley said.
They worked quickly, culling a fish and reaching the weigh-in at Fin and Feather Resort right on time.
Madeley’s huge bass officially weighed-in at an impressive 11.56 pounds.
For the day, Madeley and Miller weighed 5 bass that weighed 20.46 pounds, earning the duo a 9th place finish in the tournament.
Madeley was notified that he would receive a free replica of his bass courtesy of the Toledo Bend Lake Association.
The Toledo Bend Lunker Program awards any angler catching a 10-plus-pounder a free replica if the fish is tagged and released back into Toledo Bend waters