After watching his Toledo Bend fishing guide catch a big 9.7-pounder, Nick Doucet never dreamed he’d catch an even bigger bass less than two hours later.  

Doucet and his daughter, Allie, were fishing on April 12 with John Dean, who writes fishing reports on Toledo Bend for Louisiana Sportsman magazine.  

“I was just out that day to enjoy some fishing with my daughter, and John Dean was our guide,” Doucet said. “I was hoping Allie would catch a big one.

“John had been keeping us moving on a line on a ridge, and he caught his bass at 10:30 that morning.”

They were casting Carolina rigs hooked with a discontinued watermelon grub lure Dean was using. 

Doucet’s lure was tied to PowerPro braid spooled to a Shimano Chronarch reel on a 7-foot-3-inch medium/heavy Duckett rod.

“We were casting these rigs trying to find sandy spots in a small grassy area,” Doucet said. “John knew that along this ridge we would probably find a few spawners. The ridge was 200- to 300- yards from the banks.”

It was about noon when Doucet felt a tap on his line after three casts on a sandy break in the grass.

“It wasn’t a strong tap at all, and I set the hook,” he said. “The line started moving left and right and I just simply started reeling it in. The fish didn’t even feel big at first.”

But when the bass got about halfway to the boat, Doucet felt something different.

“It was like the fish woke up and just dove,” he said. “The bass was pulling a lot of drag, and as it got closer to the boat I had to pull it away from the trolling motor.

“As soon as the bass would get close enough for John to lip her, she would go back down and pull drag again. She did that three times to us.”

Finally the bass made another appearance on the side of the boat, but Dean couldn’t lip the bass since its jaws were firmly clenched on the lure. 

“So John just reached over and lifted the bass out of the water by grasping its body,” Doucet said.

When Dean placed the bass on the deck, the anglers saw the bass was a giant.

“We didn’t have a scale so we motored over to a nearby boat and borrowed one,” Doucet said. “On the scale we borrowed, the bass weighed 11.7 pounds.”

Dean and Doucet headed over to the nearby Fin and Feather resort, an official weigh station for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, which awards angers who catch double-digit bass and agree to return them to Toledo Bend waters with a free replica mount.

Doucet’s bass tipped the scales at a hefty 11.22 pounds, which easily qualified for the program, the big bass was tagged and released and Doucet’s replica mount was placed on order.