Ronnie Bland broke in his brand new Ranger 520 Comanche in style recently on Toledo Bend.
Purchased only five days beforehand, Bland and fishing partner Malcolm Franks were working the Six Mile area late last month while he got familiar with the boat, flipping submerged grass in 15- to 20-feet of water.
“We had seven bites all day, and I had the first six of them,” said Bland, from Indian Creek, Texas. “I got a bite about once every hour.”
After lunch, they started focusing on deep grass on points.
Bland was casting a 1-ounce, barbed-wire Oldham perch jig on 65-pound PowerPro braid spooled to a Lew’s Speed Spool on a 7-foot 3-inch Kistler heavy action flipping rod.
At about 1 p.m., Bland noticed his line moving and set the hook.
“The fish was heavy, so I told Malcolm I thought it was a catfish,” Bland said.
But the fish started pulling drag and then vaulted out of the water three times, clearly identifying herself as a lunker.
“She finally came up and Malcolm lipped her,” the angler said. “I was pretty sure it was over 10.”
Bland should be good at estimating big bass weights: He has already taken 10 other bass weighing more than 10 pounds at Toledo Bend.
His most recent lunker was a 12.07-pounder taken in March, 2013 during the Sealy Big Bass Splash, and Franks witnessed that one, too.
At Fin & Feather Resort, the fish weighed in at 10.53 pounds and became eligible for the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program, which rewards anglers who agree to tag and release 10-pound-plus bass back into Toledo Bend with a free replica.
Bland’s bass was the seventh entry for the lunker program during the 2014-15 season.